“People are replacing real parenting with too much screen time!” I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard a line similar to that one. I can agree that in today’s age kids can have too much screen time, however I’d also like to add that productive screen time is not a bad thing in a technology driven world. There are real life benefits to gaming, computers, and supervised screen time.
I am not going to lie, I was once one of the moms that thought video gaming was ruining our children. Sure, I grew up on the classic NES and SNES, but my time spent playing was very limited. I spent most of my days outside playing with other kids. I had your typical 90’s childhood outdoors. Then I grew up.
My oldest is on the autism spectrum and was always drawn to video gaming. His uncle gifted us a Wii U and I had to learn to adapt to this new world of gaming.
I had to research, what can my kid even play on the Wii U? Apparently, a lot. His first games were Mario Maker and Minecraft. I supported his use of Minecraft because it really made him flourish. I saw my son being creative for the first time ever. Minecraft even taught my son to read! He was in Kindergarten when he was gifted the Minecraft Handbooks, and he had a reason to want to learn. By the end of the year he had read every handbook until the pages were bent and torn.
It wasn’t until he asked for the game, Splatoon, for his Wii U that I gave any direct interest in gaming. He played for weeks, begging me to play with him, and I always said, “No, video games aren’t really my thing anymore.” Until that day he finally convinced me to take a turn.
One afternoon playing Splatoon with my son had me hooked. He taught me about all the weapons (He read the Splatoon Game Guide) and my specials. We had so much fun taking turns in Turf Wars. I remember going to bed that night thinking about playing again when the realization hit that my son was laughing. My son on the autism spectrum had been laughing, he had the time of his life with me. Currently our favorite games to play together are Splatoon 2, Pikmin 3, and Cuphead. We also love the free Tetris 100 on the Nintendo Switch.
I hope you enjoy this list of how to bond with your child through gaming!
Yes, kids still love Pokemon Go. There was a resurgence of the game after Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee was released in late 2018. Pokemon Go is still an excellent mobile game that gets kids out of the house and moving. Before I had an unlimited data plan with hot spot I would take the kids with my single phone and make them take turns on the same account. Now that my new phone can act as a hot spot I am on the search for older used phones that will have nothing but internet access just for Pokemon Go. I can’t wait to utilize this game again this summer and get some good walking in. Bonus, there are loads of good Pokemon stops near city centers which means it can also double as a day of sight seeing.
The kids love going out on Pokemon “hunts”
You can Click Here for instructions on how to connect your Pokemon Go account to your Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu or Eevee on the Nintendo Switch.
Smash Bros. Sunday!
This is a new thing in my house. We are blessed with two Nintendo Switches, so it makes it much easier. When my boys get home from their fathers on Sunday evenings we play Super Smash Bros. I am personally horrible at this game, but Parental Cheat Codes contributor Alex Mills is somewhat of an expert. He often video chats while playing online with my kids live. They discuss who is better, and watching them try to figure out which character to play with is always entertaining. Smash night only last for about an hour while dinner is cooking, but it is something they are becoming accustomed to and absolutely love.
Compare Life Skills to Those in Game
It’s true Games have some seriously awesome life lessons built into them. I can write an entire article on that topic, and probably will. Stay tuned! For one, both Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley teach your child the importance of helping your neighbor. It doesn’t matter if it is Pam who lives in a trailer near the river in Stardew Valley or if it is the mayor when someone is in need if you help. I have taken that life lesson and used Pam as an example more than once.
Video games can also teach patience. Going back to Stardew Valley, the kids plant their fields and buy their livestock, but they have to wait for those items to produce goods. They learn that they have to put in the work to get the pay out. Another major life lesson.
Pay attention to the games they play and see if you can pull from them relatable lessons you can use in real life settings. Not only are you contributing to your child’s growth you are incorporating their interests and bonding through them while teaching them about life. Check out Minecraft math topics. . . . It has turned into a valuable learning tool for many parents and there are some excellent videos on Youtube.
Watch Youtube With Your Kids
Please, please, please watch Youtube gamers with your kids. Not only are you getting to know what they are watching you are spending valuable time with them. You are taking an interest in what they enjoy and they will take notice of that. It also gives you something to talk about with them. Check out this article on our picks for favorite YouTube gamers.
Incorporate Games That Also Have Toys or Family Board Games
I have already mentioned my love for Splatoon. You can purchase Splatoon toys that shoot ink just like in the game. These are fun to have a family day out in the sun with. Bonus, it can also be done with water guns and a bit of food dye.
Nintendo has a host of board games that are perfect for family game nights. You can find many of these games at your local game store, department store, or the more hard to find games on Ebay. Also, be sure to look into Lego as they have a host of Minecraft and Overwatch sets you can assemble with your child.
By: Anna “Froggie” Laverne
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