The topic is heated and the opinions vary, but whether you like it or not, gaming with your children is a good thing. Playing video games with your children:
1. Teaches them problem solving skills and creativity
Video games put the gamer in situations where advanced problem solving skills and creativity are needed to beat the level and continue on in the game. By playing these games with your children, you can help them transfer these skills into real life problem solving situations.
2. Creates teaching moments
If you want to make sure your kids aren't picking up bad behaviors and habits from the games they play, then the best option is to play with them. You will know exactly what type of media they are consuming and can capitalize on teaching your children important life lessons in the moment.
Writer Jordan Shapiro has devoted much of his career to defending video game play. He has a degree in psychology, but most of his defense come from real life interaction with his children. He says, "It is easy to learn the mechanics of the game while playing. But kids need parents, or older siblings, or adult caretakers to help them translate those lessons into the context of the real world."
3. Creates common ground
Kids often get lost in the digital world. They become distracted and distant and parents wonder how to reconnect. Arizona State University researchers Elisabeth Hayes and Sinem Siyahhan found that playing video games with your children creates a safe place for them to open up to you. It creates common ground and unity between parent and child. "Video game play becomes a point of conversation, not a point of conflict," Siyahhan said when discussing the benefits of parent and child play.
4. Gives them the opportunity to teach you something
"On the flip side," Siyahhan said, "it's nice for the child to be able to teach his or her parents about gaming. Our research is finding that sharing this experience cultivates family bonding, learning and well-being."
As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time wishing your child would listen to you. Well, not playing video games with your kids only returns the favor. Listen to your children and validate them by learning from them.
5. Allows you to control how long and what they play
As a parent you probably also spend a lot of time wishing you could control how and what your children see in the digital world. By playing with your children, you will know exactly what they are playing. You can control what they take away from their video games, by capitalizing on teaching moments while playing. Be there to turn the television off. Your kids won't be mad at you, they will just be happy they got to play with you.
6. Shows you love them
This point the most important. When you take an interest in what your child enjoys, they will know you love them. Your child will take your interest as a sign that you want to be in their life. You will foster a better relationship with your children by simply setting aside time to do what they enjoy.
I know it might seem hard or annoying to spend what used to be your time playing Minecraft with your children, but it could be the thing that defines your relationship with them. Take the time to play video games with your children and see what happens.
But remember, do all things in moderation. Enjoy!