Let’s face it, no matter how much we want to deny it, video games are a big part of our teens and pre-teens daily activities. They look forward to playing with their friends, neighbors, and sometimes online. And if they are really lucky, they get to play with their parents as well. Some of you are probably thinking: I would never play those games with my children, they are a big time waster as it is! Well, let me share with you why you should put down the laundry, and pick up a game controller.
1. Playing video games with your kids is the best way to monitor what they are exposing themselves to. A lot of the video games in the world are really violent, but they are disguised as something normal with clever names and cute packaging. By playing the game alongside them, you can open up a discussion with your kids about why the game is good, or why you think it is something that needs to be monitored closely or taken away all together. By doing it this way, your child can see that you are taking the time to listen and understand them before you make a final decision.
2. You may find that you can have an open, relaxed conversation with your kids. Believe it or not, it’s a great way to get your kids to open up to you. Most often, playing video games is the way that your children wind down from a busy week.(In our household, my boys aren’t allowed to play video games during the week when school is in session). My oldest will sit and play, and I can ask him questions. He can answer without feeling pressured because he is focused on the screen, not on my eyes. It is less confrontational that way, and when you have a teenager, less is definitely more!
3. It’s a great way to bond with your kids. One of my favorite memories during the weekend is watching my husband and sons play video games together. My husband and my oldest share a mutual love for sports, so they look forward to playing games like Wii Sports or Madden ’13. And I have to say, it is entertainment for me when my son beats the pants off hubby. I see them interacting, connecting, and even learning together, and it is a heartwarming experience.
4. It is fun!! When it comes down to it, playing with your kids is just a LOT of fun. Often the boys and I will play Mario Kart or Smash Bros, and we end laughing so hard that it hurts. My kids think it is absolutely fantastic that I can throw away my “parent hat” for an hour, and spend time having fun with them. And I admit, there are times that I get a lot of pleasure out of beating them at their own games. They let down their guards, and they really let me in. And that, in itself, is priceless.
I really enjoyed writing this post and sharing with everyone about some of the benefits of playing video games with your kids. I still believe that games should be monitored closely, and that kids should not have free rein to play them for hours at a time. But when it’s done in moderation, video games can be a great way for a family to spend time together, just enjoying themselves.