My Kid Throws Fits When It’s Time to Stop Playing Minecraft!

“Any tips on how to help the kids from transitioning from playing to another activity? My 6 and 10 year old literally meltdown when told to get off the screens – especially Minecraft.”

Many parents report that their children tend to get a bit irritable after video game time. Fewer children actually meltdown, but it does happen. Here’s why:

Minecraft is a particularly difficult game to disengage from due to its sandbox nature, with no beginning, end, or clear transition points. Because it is difficult to make a “mistake” in Minecraft, kids with ADHD and learning disabilities often find it to be an activity where persistence comes naturally, in contrast to what they may experience with schoolwork. As a result, sticking with the game and transitioning, which are already more difficult for kids with ADHD, become a challenge. But there are ways to prevent them from throwing fits. Here are a few strategies that might be useful:

  1. Learn to practice and reward appropriate disengaging techniques from Minecraft and other fun activities. Reward appropriate transitions with a snack, an alternative activity, or one-on-one attention.
  2. Use traditional strategies such as a timer with a ten-minute warning. Try the timer method with other activities, as well, so your children become accustomed to it.
  3. Have them engage in a specific routine after video-game play such as a brief game discussion, a healthy snack, or going outside.
  4. Apply clear and routine consequences for meltdowns and inappropriate behavior. Parents sometimes need to take away Minecraft privileges for a brief amount of time (one to two days or longer) to show that they mean business before the kids respond.

I’ve also written a more extensive article about other strategies to help in transitioning from Minecraft that will provide you with further details. For information about the game and how to talk to your kids about it, see our Minecraft Playbook.


Feature image: Flickr user AngryJulieMonday

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