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430530_10151434795342736_406291301_nBy Lebogang Xolo, a Chemical Engineer, deeply in luv with photography, a damn good wife, but most importantly a blessed mommy of 2. Visit her blog.

My son is turning 4 years old. Time flew by so fast, I’m actually counting fingers as I write this, double checking if it’s really 4. I can tell you one thing, ‘boys are very different from girls!’

Unlike the sister, he has always been physically active. In class he’s been allowed to swap a couple of music lessons for the trampoline. He climbed up our stairs at 10.5 months. I was one of those moms telling anyone who cared to listen. And daddy was so proud because hey, nothing shouts “manly man” more than a very busy boy.

At 6 months I introduced him to Leapfrog (I am such a Leapfrog Junkie). He took to it like a duck to water. When he turned 1 he had most of their products. He started getting bored by toys for his age group. At that point daddy was thinking ‘that’s my boy’ because honestly, if my husband could trade me in for a new gadget on the market, he would.

At 2 we bought his 7 year old sister a LeapPad. Life was never been the same again. I’ll be the first to admit that I was intrigued when he knew the basics in a week. On, off and even volume control.  And when he started maneuvering to access his favourite games we were dumb struck. How could a 2 year old who can’t communicate in full sentences be able to do this?

It’s easy as a mom to judge others. “I’ll limit my kids screen time, I will never feed my child sweets, I won’t ever feed him processed food”… easy to say. But when you have a 7 to 7  job, and you have to prepare dinner and help your 8 year old with homework, perfect Patty goes out the window. As I handed him the LeapPad I’d always justify with ‘It’s better than watching TV’. It did nag me that he was demanding it every day but it became an easy way-out for me.

A year later the LeapPad was not enough for him. He needed more.  He wanted the big people gadgets. Every time there were long periods of silence we’d panic only to find him hiding in the closet with my cellphone. I actually never realized that all those memory games we played helped him cram my passwords. Never did I think that I had to hide my password from my son. ‘Mom, where is my phone?’ he’d say.

My fear hit the roof the day he beat his dad at the minions’ game. I knew then that we had to implement serious rules and be consistent.

  1. 30 Min gaming time only on weekends.
  2. 1 Sponge Bob episode daily
  3. Taking a 30min walk/outdoor activity with mommy
  4. Help around the house (This is meant to distract him and prepare him to be an amazing husband)
  5. Meal times only at the dining area

Consistency is my biggest challenge but I’m working on it. In the past year I’ve been able to wean him off his addiction and I’m quite proud of him.

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