The perfect parent isn’t one who makes their kid a straight-A student or the star player on that local basketball team; it’s one who helps them grow up into a responsible, mentally and physically healthy adult. Healthy video gaming is a great way to foster good habits while you’re having fun as a family.
In this blog post we’ll explore the benefits of video games for both kids and adults, how to find the best ones, and what games are out there for every interest. You’ll learn about the pros—improving hand-eye coordination, teaching children how to manage frustration when things don’t go their way—as well as about the cons (video game addiction). With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you’ll be able to choose games that maximize the good while mitigating the bad.
Video games are here to stay and it’s time we all acknowledge their potential benefits. A study by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that active video gaming improves brain functions in children with ADHD by boosting attention span, concentration, and impulse control as well as cognitive skills including memory and coordination. It can also be used for therapeutic purposes. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to purchase a new system, this may be just what you need.
Limiting your child’s video gaming time is important, and you can do it by encouraging them to focus on homework and other schoolwork before they play or by establishing a quiet times during the day and night when they aren’t allowed to play. While it’s important that you set the rules, it’s also important that your child knows you’re willing to work with them on achieving those goals. There are several ways to let them know this without crushing their spirit or taking all of the fun out of gaming:
- Let your child choose a favorite game or two and allow them to play those two games for a set amount of time per day/week/month (depending on how often they play.
- Set a timer for no more than an hour so that your child knows exactly how much time they have before the game has to end.
- If your child is absolutely addicted to gaming, consider taking their system away for a period of time, say one week (or as you see fit) and then returning it. This can help them learn how to be apart from their beloved console.
Make time for family games/activities
It’s important for parents to show their children how to be active, have fun, and get out of the house. Children who play video games can become isolated with no friends their own age and parents who are constantly busy at work or at home can lose that connection with their children altogether. Children don’t like being told what to do but you can help them understand that getting outside is a healthy habit that will benefit them in the long run.
-Organize family game night on a regular basis. Free bingo games online can be fun for the entire family. You should also encourage the other children in your child’s life (their cousins, friends, etc.) to come over for video game night too. This will help them make new friends and learn that they aren’t alone when it comes to playing video games.
Encourage healthy video game play
Video games can be made more fun by encouraging your child to try different activities. This will help keep them from getting bored of the same game over and over again. It will also help them learn that games don’t have to be violent or inappropriate in order to have fun. Play the old favorites together and talk about what it was like when you were younger or just play a game like “Minecraft” that doesn’t involve any violence at all. Share tips about how to make the game more interesting (or challenging). For example, help your child find out how they can overcome the obstacles in a game without using weapons. Maybe it’s buried in the manual and you have to read through it to find what they’re looking for. Or maybe they have to combine items in creative ways. This kind of challenge will make them think and try harder.
Don’t use video games as a reward
Many parents turn the TV or video game console on when their child does something good and this rewards bad behavior. This is a big problem, because it relies on the child’s incentive to do what they’re supposed to do in the first place. Your child may not be able to be good, or may even get frustrated with being told what to do all the time. Instead of rewarding them for being good, try inspiring them with things like fun activities like going out for ice cream or playing outside. This will allow them to see that it is possible to have fun and have those positive effects on their behavior without having a tantrum every time you refuse to let them play video games until 2:00 in the morning yet again.
Follow game ratings
Video games have ratings, and parents should follow them. These ratings give a general idea of what is appropriate for children to play. They also provide parents with information to help make sure the game is suitable for their child. If you have questions about the game, talk to the game’s developer or publisher and get additional information. These ratings aren’t always correct, but they are usually pretty good. If the game is violent or sexual, look for the ESRB rating on the back of the game packaging. If it doesn’t have one, check out a community like ESRB and see if you can find anything there. The ESRB has information and ratings for many of the popular games on the market today. Parents should also ask friends who have children similar ages to theirs what games their children play and if it’s appropriate for their age group.