Whether it’s from the year-long global pandemic or the tail-end of winter, cabin fever might be setting into your household. Being bored and not having much to do can quickly lead to overindulging in screen time. Many of the video games and apps youth play simulate the same excitement experienced by gamblers, which can lead to lifelong problems with gambling.
Signs of a child who might be struggling with a gaming problem include neglecting studies or part-time jobs, losing money needed for school materials or meals, or emotional distress.
In honor of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, here are some healthy and creative habits kids can engage in each week outside of gaming. The added bonus? The entire family can participate!
No-Sew Blanket: This cozy yet simple blanket only requires two matching sizes of fabric. Fleece is the best choice, but any kind will do. Go around the perimeter and make 2-by-4-inch cuts, resembling fringe, through both layers of fabric. Finish by tying the pieces together into a knot, securing the layers in place.
Thumbprint Self-Portrait: Instead of doing the old-fashioned self-portrait, switch things up with a thumbprint rendition! Have your child write about themselves in the shape of their own thumbprint. They can write about their identifying features, interests, and family members. They can also include self-identifying drawings inside the thumbprint like sports balls, books, or their favorite pet.
Constellation Jar: This is a fun option for astrology fans in your household. Poke holes in a black piece of paper and glue it around an old jar, placing battery-powered Christmas lights in the middle. If they’re up for the challenge, have them make the holes in the shape of their favorite constellation. Turn out the lights and enjoy!
Homemade Bookmarks: For the child in your life who loves to read, have them try their hand at making bookmarks. With just a few popsicle sticks, glue, fabric, and paint, you can make many creative and fun bookmarks. They can be everything from broomsticks and dragons to crocodiles and rockets.
Beaded Candle Holder: This project is designed to fit a tea candle. You can use a small jar like an old jelly or mustard jar. Clean it out, wrap it in some metallic twine, and thread it with colorful, clear beads for a stained-glass effect once the candle inside is lit.
Enjoy time getting creative with the children in your life! And remember that if your child is a gamer and is no longer having fun, or it’s negatively affecting their mood or spending habits, they may have a problem. Learn more about responsible gaming practices for kids at ChangeTheGame.org.