There is a war raging in homes across America. It’s parents versus kids and it heats up right when the kids are home from school and are picking up their video game controllers. In attempts to manage the time our kids spend on electronics, we change Wi-Fi passwords, demand they work for their time, and threaten them with less time when they aren’t behaving. While there is nothing wrong with managing their time and even finding creative ways to do so, is there a way we can use electronics to cultivate friendship with our children? It seems we often are on the losing side of that battle, but rather than fighting the technology era, we can lean into the benefits of playing video games.
Engaging in play with our kids has major benefits that are often ignored as our children get older. Many moms I meet feel that playing video games just isn’t their thing, but neither was sitting around building block towers and playing with finger puppets when their children were younger. The truth is that playing the games our children love fosters a connection that shows you care about what they care about. It shows that you take an interest in what is engaging to them. If that doesn’t convince you, take a look at these three benefits of playing video games with your child:
1. It builds trust.
Spending time engaged in play with your child shows you enjoy being around them. Even if there’s no deep conversation involved, you’re building a foundation of trust with your child simply by spending time doing something they love.
2. It disarms your child.
With our older children gaining boosts of hormones and also trying to navigate life more independently, there are some days that are just hard. In the midst of tense situations, sometimes a little play or humor can work wonders. Playing games with your child can create space to openly communicate without the pressure of it being “a talk.” A benefit of playing video games with your child is that it puts you both at the same level, making difficult conversations feel more approachable.
3. It cultivates friendship.
Playing video games with your child lets them see a different side of you. If you’re not great at it, letting your child teach you how to play can boost their confidence level. In gameplay, there’s room to be silly, banter a bit, and enjoy each other’s victories—or model how to appropriately respond to losing.
I challenge us, moms, to slow down and engage in play with our older children. Can you imagine the look on your kid’s face when instead of being told to get off the video games, you ask if you can play with them? Moms will score major points (pun intended this time) but the real benefits of playing video games will be the memories created and the friendship cultivated that will last for years to come.
What video game from your childhood would you love to play with your kids?