How to Get Your Child's Attention
When They're Engrossed in a Video Game

get your childs attention when they're engrossed in a videogameBy Nicky Vanvalkenburgh

Do you struggle to get your child’s attention when they're playing a video game? Perhaps you have dinner on the table, and want the kids to come before everything gets cold. Your objective is clear, but your child is engrossed in a video game. Their eyes are focused on the TV screen. Their hand is on the joystick. They’re playing the game, and you’re being ignored. As a result, you feel frustrated, angry and stressed. What can you do to get your child’s attention?

Try the “Pause and Eyeball” technique. First, get control of the situation by asking the kids to pause. Tell your child, “Time out! Stop you’re doing and listen to me.”

Your child may be so engrossed in their computer game that they’re almost in a trance. Their eyes are glazed over, and they may not ever hear you. This causes your instructions to be ignored. To break the trance, clap your hands and tell them to time-out. You could also use a hand bell, horn or whistle. What you’re trying to do is break your child’s trance. Ask for your child’s focused attention: “All eyes on me. Eyeballs right here!”

get your childs attention when they're engrossed in a videogameDemand that your children look at you when you speak. Now you have their attention. Tell them that dinner is on the table, and they need to come now. If they groan and complain, continue to be firm. Stick to your guns. “You can play that game later. Dinner is ready and you’re coming to the table NOW.”

The “Pause and Eyeball” technique has been used in the military for years. Have you ever seen a drill sergeant addressing his troops? They are all standing at attention, and staring straight ahead. To break the trance and get everyone focused on his words, the sergeant yells, “break and look out!” This means that the troops must turn their head to look at the sergeant, so that their auditory as well as visual capacities are engaged. Now the sergeant has their focused attention.

Think of how this technique applies to your children. When your child is looking at you (visual) and listening (auditory,) then they’re more likely to obey your commands. Applying the “Pause and Eyeball” technique will capture your child’s attention and bring them to your focus. You’ll avoid the yelling, crying, screaming, arms-folded resistance, and refusing to cooperate. Remember that you’re the parent, and you’re in control. Now let’s all sit down and enjoy our dinner.

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