The Rules of Play

The boy sat down to play his game
And then called out his favourite name
Mum, oh Mum oh Mother dear
I’m rather thirsty over here
If you could bring me a cold drink
I promise not to make a stink
But if you dawdle or refuse 
I promise you, you’ll sing the blues
I’ll scream so loud you’ll wish that you
Could seal your ears with superglue

His Mum, a modern mother who
Had read each book on what to do
To raise a child with confidence
Did not balk or look askance
She poured his drink and carried it
To where the boy did lounge and sit
His headphones on, his gaze fixated
Upon the screen, while he berated 
His hapless Mum for bringing him
A drink without the ice cubes in

Fix my drink, he said not looking
While you’re at it get to cooking
I’m hungry, how my belly rumbles
Of course dear boy, his Mum did mumble
She knew from searching on the net
How hungry growing boys did get
And how when they hit puberty
Their manners could just up and flee
For now she’d give this little lout
The benefit of all her doubt

But doubt it was that then did creep
Across her mind as she did sleep
And dreamt of quite another way
To raise the kids of modern day
The very next morning, full of gumption
She vowed to stop her son’s consumption
Of all the things online he viewed
That served to make her polite boy rude
She google searched for ways she could
Get rid of all the screens for good

Yet google was quite crystal clear
There was no need to interfere
TV’s were very inspirational
Smart phones were so educational
She also read how online gaming
Was the modern way of entertaining

In this new world the kids could play
Without boundaries getting in the way
They could be whatever they choose
A ghost, a car, a dog with hooves
Without it, the article was quite clear
A child would be ostracised by their peers
They’d have no place in this new world
The one about to be unfurled
The new frontier where all will dwell
Safe in code while Earth went to hell

And even though we have no say
In if we want this world or nay
She read it’s pointless to protest
It’s coming soon, it’s for the best
If you don’t plug your kids in now
They’ll miss the boat, they won’t know how
To live in this new metaverse
And really nothing could be worse
Than missing out on this bright future
Support your child and his computer

So she did what any Mum would do
And brought him ice cubes with his food
Then calmly and with little fear
Took a hammer to the gear
To all the goods that had a screen
That sucked kid’s souls, made parents scream
She smashed them, every single one
The boy did cry, please stop it Mum!
I’ll be good, I promise now
Just one device, I beg allow
Alas, she would have none of it 
And smashed it all to little bits

At last, the boys cries did subside
Emotion spent, he went outside
And found a truly wonderous sight
A garden green, lit with sunlight
A swing, a ball, a trampoline
The biggest he had ever seen
He’d clean forgot he had all this
So lost was he in gaming bliss
And so he called up all his chums
Come round he said, bring water guns
And to his mother’s great delight
He came and hugged her really tight
I’m sorry Mum, for being an ass
I can’t believe I was so crass
My friends are coming, is that ok?
Of course, she said, have fun and play

And so they did, play all day long
And joked and danced and sang their songs
And each boy then did take a vow
From this day on they would allow
More time each day to play outside
No longer online would they hide
The park, the field, the streets, the bay
So many places they would play
They’d never forget just how much fun
The real world was with all their chums
And when each day of fun was done
They all agreed they’d hug their Mums.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on

I spent a lovely evening with some Mum friends last night; almost inevitably our conversation turned to our children’s screen time and how best to manage it. I must admit I find it disconcerting that it feels almost impossible to live a life without electronic devices, yet none of us seem to have had much say in how technology has encroached upon our lives (the irony of posting this online is not lost on me). Today I read some Roald Dahl to cheer me up and this rhyming story was the result. I feel much better now, you’ve got to love a cathartic rhyme. I may read this one to my son at bedtime (if I can coax him off YouTube).

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Sunday Rhyme Time. If you did and you haven’t already subscribed to my blog then please consider signing up. I never spam because I don’t know how, but you will receive notifications of my new posts. You can also follow me on Instagram.

4 thoughts on “The Rules of Play

  1. “The very next morning, full of gumption
    She vowed to stop her son’s consumption
    Of all the things online he viewed
    That served to make her polite boy rude”

    Love these lines. In my observation many a child, and adult, have morphed into a blob of snarling rude thanks to too much time in front of screens. I love them [the screens] but with limits!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Ally, I enjoyed writing them.

      Couldn’t agree more, such useful things but moderation is definitely needed…I think my family’s biggest tensions are down to screen time & it’s not just the kids 😂🙈

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad I don’t have to battle with this dilemma, I’ll be interested to see how my son deals with my granddaughter as she grows up in this technological world. I certainly will be encouraging as much outdoor ,natural play as possible when she spends time with me. I’ve already found her good trees to climb !

    Liked by 1 person

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