Restless child says to mother, “Mom, can I play some Wii?” Mom looks at child with weary eyes, thinks about her growing piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, and unanswered emails. She replies, “Well, OK but just for 15 minutes.” Mom glances at her watch as child happily skips over to the TV and picks up a remote. Three loads of laundry later – as well as a cleaned up kitchen, organized email inbox, some scrubbed toilets, vacuumed rugs, returned phone calls and a little stolen time on Facebook – Mom realizes those little 15 minutes turned into a good hour (or sometimes more). Gasp! Is this good? Sure, Mom got a lot done and child was entertained and thrilled. But how much of this good thing is actually good?

Welcome to the wonderful life of Wii! Our family just received Wii this past Christmas and – thanks to many snow-filled days – we’ve been having a lot of fun with our new toy. It has absolutely amazed me how quickly our kids (just shy of 7 and 4 years of age) have picked up the technology and can navigate from game to game with no help from Mom and Dad. It’s really scary, but I have to admit, kinda nice too!

Yes it’s true, the scenario spelled out above has actually happened once, um maybe a few times in our house. And as I sit here writing this blog, my husband just walked into the room after being absent for the past 20 minutes. I asked, “Where have you been?” and he replied, “Playing Wii!” So even us adults are guilty of sneaking away for a few.

Obviously playing Wii for an hour or more is not good! We’ve been a little lenient since it is still a new toy and it’s not like we can send the kids outside to play in this cold. But obviously playing with Legos, reading books, or doing puzzles are much better choices.

And as newbie Wii players, we only have a few of the Wii sports games on-hand. So to further justify my guilt, at least I have them playing games that require some interaction and moving around. My daughter and I also recently attended a “Wii Just Dance” party and we left full of sweat and out of breath. That’s got to be good for something, right?

Friend and loyal reader, Jessica P, suggested I blog about this topic, and ask other moms what’s an acceptable amount of time on Wii per day or per week. Is this an actual challenge for parents, or does the “newness” factor of Wii actually subside?

I have to think we are not alone. In fact a friend once told me she had a big talk with her seven-year-old son recently because all he wanted to do was play Wii, and he refused to find other things to play with independently in their home. And then I find out my nephews (ages 13, 11 and 9) worked hard to save up $400 in allowance among the three of them with hopes of buying  XBOX (they have had Wii for years). But my brother gave them a big fat “No.” That’s where he drew the line.

So where do you draw the line on playing Wii? What do you tell your kids? And while your adding your comment below, share some of your favorite Wii games for all ages. Yea, I know this blog is about how to curb the Wii hours, but while we’re at it, it’d be nice to know about some actual educational games out there too!