Those video games will rot your brain!
July 5, 2012 10:14 AM   Subscribe

My 7 year old son has misplaced his imagination. Please help me help him find it again...

I am the mother of a 7 year old boy. He is an only child and I am a single mother. 2 years ago this kid had the imagination of Dr Seuss, I swear, but after a couple years of video games, he's turned into a 30 year old dude in his mother's basement with headphones on and the latest copy of WoW (no offense WoW lovers!).

I know I've played a part in this. I work 8 hours a day and then come home to a computer at which I sit and work another couple hours and by that time at night, it's just easier to sit next to him on the couch and do personal stuff on my laptop while he engages his video games. I've slacked and didn't see this creeping up but recently have realized this is a serious issue, the time that both of us spend on electronic devices, and I've been working to quell how much we both use these things. Thing is, it's very obvious that he's forgotten how to play alone.

How do I go about getting him back to that place? We've talked about it and he realizes too that this is unhealthy -- we've decided that we're going to ween ourselves off our electronics. I get an hour a day on my computer and he gets an hour on his DS (his preferred electronic device). But when it comes down to filling the rest of his day at home with other activities, the poor kid really is at a loss. He used to build Lego structures in his room for hours, now he is bothered by more than 10 minutes of that and gets frustrated. He used to draw, write stories, read books, and now he's just totally over that. He'd rather hear a story through his Monster Truck game. As for me, I'm no help. I try to be encouraging but watching him flail about whilst unsuccessfully trying to use his brain is something I can't comprehend. In the absence of my computer, I'll read. I'll doodle and craft. I've tried to engage him in these things with me but it's just not flying. He's not being a brat, really, he just needs to relearn how to entertain himself and I want to help him.

Do I keep pushing these things and eventually he'll find that nice spot in his head where he can sit alone for hours? Do I buy a damn book full of activities to keep his brain active? What's a reasonable amount of time to allow for electronic based activities for a 7 year old daily anyway?

This kid is extremely creative and draws some serious self-esteem from that fact and I see it dying in front of me and feel helpless. I've always pushed creativity in the house and now I've contributed to it not having enough air to breathe and I'd like to fix that. Any suggestions?

(Also of note: We live in the Midwest and just shoving him out the door and letting him find a butterfly to investigate is no longer an option like it was this spring. It's so damn hot his brain would literally melt so outdoors suggestions, if you had one, might not work.)
posted by youandiandaflame to Grab Bag (35 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Has he shown any interest in making his own video games? I know there have been questions here with great answers about resources for kids to design their own games (no advanced programming necessary).
posted by rtha at 10:17 AM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

I try to be encouraging but watching him flail about whilst unsuccessfully trying to use his brain is something I can't comprehend. In the absence of my computer, I'll read. I'll doodle and craft.

Have you tried doing these sort of things with him? Do you build Legos with him? Do both of you get out the paint and brushes and start doodling?

Also try leaving the house and going to the park or library or even the mall food court to do a few things, like play board games. Is there a comic book store in the neighborhood? Can you take him there and let him hang out for a while in the store, by himself?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:20 AM on July 5, 2012 [7 favorites]

Books! Take him to a bookstore or get him a kindle, and put him on a min/max budget. He has to pick out at least 1 and at most 3 books per month, or something along those lines. It doesn't need to be a book of activities; the act of reading will remind him of how great imagination is, and it'll come back to him naturally.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 10:20 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

To channel our energy and excess brain power, my parents would make up somewhat outlandish assignments during the summer, like:

- design a building with a blank space for the third floor
- draw a map of the United States in reverse
- learn algebra
- find out how many times the word "the" is used in that book over there
- bake a cake from scratch
- make a pinata (this was a favorite of everyone's.)
- see how long you can go without talking

Sometimes kids can play on their own and sometimes they need direction before they're self-sustaining.

Also - is he a member of any clubs or groups? That might get him going a bit.
posted by punchtothehead at 10:22 AM on July 5, 2012 [10 favorites]

Do you have a children's theater he could participate in nearby? Would he have an interest in puppetry? What about arranging a home-based scavenger hunt and at the end of it he gets a ticket to some cool thing he's been wanting to do?

Maybe the problem is somewhat environmental in that it's in the house --- what about checking out if the library has an art group? Are there camps or classes he can take at a local Y? What if you get him into a creative thing that isn't at home? With other kids who like to do that creative thing, too?
posted by zizzle at 10:22 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

My daughter loved the Dangerous Book for Girls at that age (I've linked to the Boy version). A good portion of it will involve outdoor activity, but 1) he's not going to die from spending a little time outside in hot weather, and 2) they could be done or more temperate days, or in the evenings or early mornings and not the full heat of the day.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:27 AM on July 5, 2012

I work 8 hours a day and then come home to a computer at which I sit and work another couple hours and by that time at night,

Is it at all possible to wait and do your computer work later on, when it's his bedtime? Because not only are you leaving him with lots of together-but-not-together downtime to kill, you're modeling the very behavior you're trying to change in him. It's going to be hard to convince him to change his pattern if you still get to sit there and do what you're doing, right in front of him.
posted by hermitosis at 10:29 AM on July 5, 2012 [16 favorites]

I'm with zizzle on "get out of the house and into interesting groups!" thing. 4H is gender neutral and isn't just for livestock, we've chosen that as our "parent organization" as we look to ways to get the disadvantaged kids we're doing projects with out into the greater community; their "Junk Drawer Robotics" curriculum is pretty darned cool (I think it's worth buying the books and trying to do the projects at home, but it's built around doing these activities in a group).
posted by straw at 10:30 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

When my kids were little, car trips and running errands were a time to imagine. I had undiagnosed health issues, so driving was a real chore. I would tell them we were fighters for The Rebellion (Star Wars), the car was our space ship and I was the pilot. Piloting is serious business, so I needed to concentrate (aka "do not bug mom").

I encouraged them to shoot random asteroids out of the sky and keep the enemy ships off my back. A trip to the bank was a secret meeting to get funding for The Resistance. Lunch was a supply run to get food for our starving troops. Of course, it was extremely important to keep this all hush hush so we wouldn't get caught. They went around with their flashing neon sign anouncing they had a secret. Passersby were amused.

We used to also take small toys in the car to occupy them. At some point, my younget told me "Don't worry about it. I have my imagination." He didn't need anything else to entertain him.
posted by Michele in California at 10:30 AM on July 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

As for the his struggles, I would say he's just in a withdrawal period. The longer you convince him to ride it out, the easier it will get. Right now the pull of all that other computery stuff is still very strong.
posted by hermitosis at 10:30 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lots of people rave about The Big Joke Game as a book to get small boys' imaginations going.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2012

Could you both go for a walk together in the evening?

How about you encourage him do to a craft that interests him while you do yours, if you both sit at the dining room table, or whatever, you can chat about what you are doing and share ideas and help him start to imagine things himself.
posted by wwax at 10:35 AM on July 5, 2012

What do you usually do about dinner? Can you get him involved with the process of planning and cooking meals? Kids generally love cooking, and setting him up with these skills now will serve him for the rest of his life.
posted by decathecting at 10:35 AM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

I know you said outside is no-go, but my first thought was that this kid probably has a very limited recess and lunch, a full school day or summer program where he has to mostly sit, and then he comes home and does more things mostly sitting indoors. No one is maximally creative without some sustained physical activity and my adult brain gets fidgety after too long without a walk or a bike ride. Are you both getting your exercise?

For the summer, is there a public pool somewhere you could get membership at? What about a gym or rec center with kids programming like martial arts, dance, indoor tennis or raquetball, etc? At the least, go for a walk and catch fireflies after dark.
posted by slow graffiti at 10:40 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

My boys looooove their Nintendo and TV, but they are also easily captured by a game of Settlers of Cataan or Carcassonne. Whether that is the game itself or the availability of Dad Time I don't know, but you might try playing a game with your son. (And if you do, easy, more familiar ones might allow him to drift more readily, so go for something you are both learning!)

Similarly, could you teach him a decently-challenging card game? He obviously likes to figure out a game's "system" (rules, winning strategies, etc.), so maybe cribbage or gin would let him engage that way.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:40 AM on July 5, 2012

I know you're really busy, but I think the best thing would be if he could go to a class -- maybe a computer class? Or writing and drawing since he's into those? Sounds like it would be really tough for this kid to self direct himself back in to creative productivity.

Sounds like you're a great mom for thinking about this for him.
posted by sweetkid at 10:44 AM on July 5, 2012

You need to break the routine. It doesn't have to be earth shattering; in fact it probably shouldn't be. Trying to dive into something too huge might have the opposite affect of scaring him off and driving him right back into the comforting, predictable arms of his video games.

Joining some kind of club is a great way to do this. It will get him out of his comfort zone, just enough to be daunting, but not too much, and the expectation of having to show up somewhere could be just enough of a compulsion to get the momentum going as well.

This happened to me once. Granted I was in my twenties, but I think the principal still applies. I was definitely stuck in the routine of work, dinner, tv/video games, bed. It was pretty bad. So one day, completely on a lark I posted an ad to my local Craigslist, stating that I played keyboard and want to join a band. I ended up hanging out with some guys who were into copmletely different music than I was. We started a band and played together, gigging at local bars for about a year. Turns out it was the exactly the jolt I needed. I met my eventual wife through that experience. It brought me out of my shell. And even though I've moved on from it I still remember that year of high weirdness quite fondly.

Okay now your son is only seven so he's probably not going to join a band. But the point is that he needs to do something slightly "on a lark", something just strange enough to provide that little kickstart.

When I was in my 7-8 years my mom put me in a "summer school" run by the local elementary school. It was just a few hours every other day, and we did stuff like arts and krafts, watched funny documentaries and played outdoor games. A lot of these programs are fairly cheap if they're run through the school districts.

Outdoorsy stuff isn't necessarily out of the question even in this hot hot weather. Just need plenty of sunscreen, water, etc. I wouldn't count it out.

Planning is often helpful too. It might help to compile a list and ask him to just pick two or three things that seem like they might be interesting to try. If I were making such a list I might do something like this (feel free to use, obviously):

01. Local Art Museum
02. Local Discovery/Science Museum
03. Local Natural History Museum
04. Outdoor Photography/Day Hikes
05. Lego Build Day
06. Butcher Paper Doodle Day
07. Frisbee Games
08. Bed-sheet Fort Day
09. Costume/Dress-up Day
10. Board Game Day
11. Make your own language day
12. Self-portrait day
13. Wikipedia day (seriously, why not incorporate the internet in a routine-breaking way? Turn wikipedia into a game.)
14. Make your own short-film day
15. Learn some card tricks or other magic tricks
16. Go watch/participate in a drum circle
17. Farmer's market?
18. Pottery/Ceramics class
19. Write funny (age-appropriate) limericks or haiku
20. Sidewalk chalk day
21. Dance-party!! (a personal favorite, just pick a funky album and shake your booty in the comfort of your own home. My kids love this too.)
22. Read a book out loud together. This is so fun even adults still do it sometimes.
23. Dollar-store day. Just go to the dollar store, give yourselves each like a $5 budget and see what are that craziest things you can buy (may be US/CAN-centric).

And one of my personal favorite things for creative projects of any kind (storytelling, songwriting, drawing, game playing, etc) is Story Cubes. One time my brother and I spent two hours doodling based on a roll of Story Cubes and forcing ourselves to incorporate the elements of those images. It really gives your brain a workout and is a ton of fun.

When I was a kid I loved loved loved my copy of The Book of Solo Games.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:54 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not sure if 7 is too young, but if he likes WoW he might like table-top gaming like Dungeons & Dragons, which is what WoW is ultimately based on. The main difference is that with table-top games the DM and players are the ones who have to think up all of the main game content and plot.

Do I keep pushing these things and eventually he'll find that nice spot in his head where he can sit alone for hours?

I don't know if everyone can or should be able to entertain themselves for long periods of time without external stimulus of one kind or another. To a certain extent being alone with nothing to do is boring and being bored is the natural reaction to that. However for me at least most effective ways of fighting boredom by entertaining myself in my own head were generally not related to any kind of structured or constructive formal activity like art or writing. For example at grade school as a kid when I was bored I used to daydream about tiny armies battling on the desks and books and whatnot, including coming up with elaborate back-stories for them. I know a lot of people in similar situations made up entire towns of fictional people. Even though daydreaming isn't generally considered a productive activity for me at least it's the most stimulating in terms of just turning on the creative part of my brain.

Also I would put reading books, playing most board games, acting in plays, and doing a lot of other activities mentioned in this thread in the same category as video games in terms of not really involving a lot of unstructured creative thinking. One of the only highly structured creative activities I participated in as a kid was Odyssey of the Mind (I was always in a group that did the literature/play themed projects rather than building a bridge out of balsa wood or whatever), but I don't really recommend that because I think the whole competition aspect makes absolutely no sense and there is a big incentive for parents/coaches to meddle with projects rather than letting the kids actually do everything themselves (partially because of the competition aspect).
posted by burnmp3s at 10:55 AM on July 5, 2012

Read to him! Out loud! From a book! It will wean both of you off your gadgets and give you *both* a break you deserve!
posted by kuppajava at 10:56 AM on July 5, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all these, everyone!

Let me mention a couple things and then I'll bow out:

We do walk, every night, typically when it cools off. I do try and do these things with him but he just gets frustrated and honestly, after a 10 hour work day, I can't take it. I know in my head that I need to just sit with him while he learns to self-regulate those feelings but good Lord, that's hard. Like I said, I know a huge part of this is me. On that note, I get that sitting at the computer while yelling at him to put down a video game isn't fair -- he actually pointed this out to me and that's why we're trying to BOTH put the kibosh on this bad habit we've got, together.

He's very active in sports -- soccer, baseball, and basketball -- but we're in a lull between seasons. He has joined 4H but it doesn't start until September.

Also, we live in a VERY small rural town. There is a local pool...but that's it. No comic book stores, no kid's park, nothing like that. No gym, no rec center. He does go to a daycare 4 days a week while I work that's VERY structured and he does get some outdoor time there...but for quite some time he was taking his video games and playing them with his 4 or 5 dude friends there. I've since stopped that activity but he fights it so hard because he gets so bored. I'm still holding strong on that though because there's no way for me to regulate the time he has his DS there.

Just now bought the Dangerous book, love that suggestion. AND the board games -- what a dunce that didn't occur to me! These are really great suggestions...

Per rtha's comment, does anyone have any insight on how I might get him involved in video game makin'?
posted by youandiandaflame at 10:56 AM on July 5, 2012

I'm not sure where in the Midwest you live, so I apologize if this is not possible. Growing up I lived outside of Boston and I did a "mail-in" science camp. Materials were sent to me at home and I had to build things over a couple of weeks. Then once a month (or maybe more infrequently), my mom and I would go to the museum to share what I created and see other kids' projects. Musuems often have wonderful programming for kids. Whether it is science, art, or something else-related. May be worth checking out.
posted by anya32 at 10:59 AM on July 5, 2012

Everyone has great suggestions above.

I'm coming in to recommend the book The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale. It's a really fun and non-preachy read about a family going through the very dynamic you're trying to change, but the main thing I remember is that it took the whole family a lot of time to fully cut their dependence on their various devices and relearn how to entertain themselves without it. I seem to recall that it took her kids at least three months to reconfigure their brains and their routines to the point where they could easily come up creative and fun things to do that didn't involve computers, video games, and so on. (And her kids were teenagers who were already highly independent—I have to imagine it would be even more difficult for a seven-year-old.) I notice the same thing in myself when I attempt the occasional technology fast, that alternative leisure activities feel really forced and unfulfilling at first until I get to the point where the computer is not always my default entertainment. So I guess the takeaway here is just to try to be extra patient as he works through this. I know it's not easy, for either him or you.

Good luck! I think what you're trying to do is fantastic.
posted by anderjen at 11:12 AM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Show him how to use a low-temp glue gun and give him a ton of cardboard. Instant castles, robots, etc.
posted by Marit at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind too that kids ' brains go through a shift around age seven. They will still have an imagination but it 's not quite the same ad a younger child 's.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:30 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do I keep pushing these things and eventually he'll find that nice spot in his head where he can sit alone for hours?

Man, the image of a 7 year old boy sitting alone in his head for hours, as his childhood goes by, just seems so lonely. This is coming from someone who read through almost all of the local library's children's section. I mention that because I want you to know I'm someone who DID have the strong interest in cerebral, imaginative, creative things that you are trying to revive in your son. Reading and writing were my top 2 hobbies from early childhood through the start of high school. And I drew, painted, used my science set, raised pets, explored outside. We had TV, a computer and videogames but my time on them was never limited -it didn't have to be.

And I think a big part of the reason why is that I was not doing those things ALONE. It's natural to think of reading as a solitary activity. But what would happen is that my best friends and I would all be reading the same books, swapping them, and talking about them. Or I would read a book in a series and then pass it on to my sister. Or if I wasn't fast enough we would take turns on the same one.

I would write stories, but it wasn't just me sitting alone isolated in a corner with a pencil. What would happen is I would tell my sister crazy stories at night because I was bored and didn't want to go to sleep yet, so I needed to come up with something really good that would compel her to stay awake. Then I would write them down later.

My best friend would come over and we would go up to my room and unroll this gigantic sheet of paper that we found, and work on covering it with a huge fantasy map. It took us weeks. I never worked on it when she wasn't there.

Same thing with outdoors stuff, I know you said it's too hot to go out there but this applies to indoors activity too. My friends would come over and we would egg each other on to do things. (Egging each other on sounds like a negative which it wasn't but I'm not sure how else to describe it) It's just that multiplier effect, like one kid might get one little idea for something. Then another kid gets another idea that plays off that. Then a third kid gets an idea that builds off the first two. Before you know it you all have towels tied around your necks and you're jumping back and forth between your garage roof and your neighbor's garage roof. It's just that inspiration and ideas branch out in so much more directions when there are other people there and it's not just you alone. You get more creative. Everyone gets more creative.

The point of this is, I think the kid needs friends. Even with the "solitary" activities, I really think the best thing to do would be to put in a strong effort to get him a lot more friend time.
posted by cairdeas at 11:30 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I went digging and found this askme from earlier this month, and this one from a few days later, which is specifically about non-computer aspects of game design.
posted by rtha at 11:39 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, we live in a VERY small rural town.

This could be the solution.
Is there any partly-unused land around, outside the town? Or even any look-the-other-way land? I was bored out of my skull by a similar situation, and even though I was surrounded by the solution, it still took about 8 months before it even occurred to me to explore a bit wider, but suddenly, I was building secret underground forts (find a ditch or hole, maybe dig it deeper, build a roof over it, turn the roof into fake ground with grass etc, furnish the interior), experimenting with making rafts, etc. These sorts of projects were ongoing things lasting weeks. They were not only a legitimate alternative to the games, but depending on my mood, I'd do them instead.

I think part of getting there was the way the time was arranged. An hour on the computer and then make do without it isn't as conducive to establishing a new normal as a day of unlimited gaming and a day of no gaming. I think that having all day to fill and knowing that it's not going to be gaming assisted in finding other things.

That said, in switching off the games, don't also switch off the social networking. A big part of my projects outdoors was usually having a partner in crime. These days, more of that conspiring happens electronically.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:23 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Would your son be interested in learning an instrument in his spare time - perhaps a guitar?

Seven is not too young to commense formal lessons; and music lends itself to sole activity, group activity, and combines well with technology.

Musical skills are great skills to develop young - the younger the better; and the discipline is as good for the brain as constructive imagination. I'm sure.
posted by de at 12:40 PM on July 5, 2012

It is so great that you've noticed this issue! I think it wouldn't even occur to many parents, and it is terribly important for anyone, young or old.

Theater (especially improv) is pretty much the ideal way for anyone to engage their creative side. If there is any chance of getting him involved in community theater, do it...even in a small town I imagine his school will do productions at some point. Otherwise, you might have fun doing improv games on your own. Here are some examples. I also loved Madlibs at that age, and they could be fun as either a group or solo activity.

Alternately, non-electronic RPGs can be really engaging and fun, and he could play them with either you or a friend. Mouseguard could be a good one to start with, and it is based on a series of graphic novels that he also might like. Board games in general are likely to be a fun activity for both of you, and boardgamegeek keeps an excellent list of the best new ones.

Also, just generally work to introduce him to imaginative fiction and discuss the themes and metaphors together. Take turns reading fiction and myths out loud to each other or listen to audiobooks together, watch plays and films together, etc.
posted by susanvance at 1:04 PM on July 5, 2012

as far as getting the creativity this:
turn off ALL of the electronics. (yes, your phone too.) wake him up early on saturday. show him the kitchen table. on it are 2 reams of typing paper (8 1/2x11, 500 sheets, one for each of you) and some pens (black...rollerball, gel, marker, whatever...just black). sit down and draw something on every sheet of paper and do not stop until it is done (microwave lunch, yay!). you will be up late, yes. it will be fun. call it a brain enema, he will enjoy that.

ok, here's the kicker: you will both have drawn something. i know what that something is. everybody draws it when they do this. i will tell you what that is on sunday.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:04 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

First, he might enjoy reading The Phantom Tollbooth. That immediately jumped out at me when you said "imagination."

Beyond that, I'm partial to opportunities that take his interest in technology/games and push that into a more creative direction. All the social recommendations above are important, but there are plenty of creative tech things he can do alone and with others. He might enjoy something like Scratch. Alternatively, you could turbo-boost his Lego building with Mindstorms and he can tinker with movie-making and/or robotics.
posted by zachlipton at 2:28 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Could you get him a kitchen experiment book? Or start him into puzzles and board games? Dominion is really fun, as is Carcassone.
posted by spunweb at 4:46 PM on July 5, 2012

Are there Boy Scouts available? I am female, but have brothers, and when we were kids we used to have a lot of fun with building really simple stuff, mostly for Boy Scout contests. Like Pinewood derby cars, or we would make little rafts out of scrap wood and float them down the stream in our back yard. Seriously, building dams and floating rafts in the stream is a very engaging activity. Also, we would do the egg drop contest where you try to make something that will hold an egg that gets dropped from a height and prevent it from breaking, like you can do something with cushions and parachutes and that sort of stuff. These sorts of things are more fun when you have other kids to do them with, for sure.

I like the puzzles suggestion. There is a Games Magazine for Kids that he might like. It sounds like he needs to start with directed activities that have some kind of structure to them (like a puzzle or game) before moving to the more unstructured fun where he has to take the initiative to come up with ideas on what to do and how to do it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:46 PM on July 5, 2012

Try moving the DS/computer and TV time to the absolute end of the day, an hour or so before bed. Otherwise, he'll be missing the computer all day, rather than looking forward to it. My kids are zombies if they get computer/net access first thing in the day.

Have you got an area in the living room where you can permanently set out art supplies, building toys, etc? Seven is a good age to start experimenting with different hobbies and crafts - maybe draw up a long list of possible hobbies and have him spend 3-7 days trying each one out. If he has a good attention span, an outdoor project is great. My brother excavated part of a field to make a giant network of moats and bridges, and at that age, I remember building barbie-houses all over the garden with strings to zip-line barbies between them. I also 'made' little magazines. My boys were not at all arts-creative but wanted to climb trees and play sword/chasing games and explore at the same age.

Kids vary a lot - he may wind up indoors drawing and making costumes, or he may wind up building killer robots.

I completely sympathise about the computer use. I'm trying to use mine only when they're busy elsewhere or at night, but it's hard. Your nightly walks sound like a great family routine, one I'm going to try with ours.
posted by viggorlijah at 12:28 AM on July 6, 2012

Just yesterday I read a post by Dennis Mahoney of Giganticide about the summer activities project he does with his son every year (who is now eight). Goals include reading, collecting and physical skills, with suggestions from both dad and son. Reward based on achievement. A cool list. I really loved it. It might give you some ideas.
posted by distorte at 3:10 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

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