I’ve talked to a few parents in passing about this, so I wanted to open it up here. Do you play games with your kids? How is that going?
I play a few games with C (currently 4.5 years), with our primary being Stardew Valley and Minecraft, and then e plays Animal Crossing on a 3DS by emself (sometime I visit eir town, but it is mostly single play).
We’ve had a few weeks of our routine getting mixed up due to traveling for housing and vacation reasons. So some behavioral changes are expected, but I am debating if gaming is something I should be doing at this time.
We time our sessions, and that part isn’t as bad. But between sessions (which happens at the same time most days, so a whole day) C can be obsessed about ensuring the next session will happen, and plans out contingencies. In some ways this is adorable and productive, like when e builds with blocks what we will build in Minecraft, or reads the handbooks and imagines our buildings.
However, it can get really annoying and emotional if we even hint that gaming won’t happen. Grumpy, mean, self-exile to the room (no more slamming doors, because seriously, who does that?). It is a lot more than I was expecting from this age, and I believe it is connected.
And ultimately, I think I am dealing with my own coping mechanisms, and how they relate to my interactions with C. Video games make life easier for me. If I need to think about a theme templating method, a couple of rounds of Hearthstone gets me to my solution. And when I am depressed or anxious, I can play games all night to process my feelings and make it through to the other side.
I’ve always considered it a wasteful behavior that won’t destroy my mind or liver. And when C started getting into it, I experienced catharsis of eir beginner’s mind. I overlooked a lot of the changes in C because I was having a good experience personally. So this message is as much a prompt for discussion as it is unloading my own fears of fucking up my kid.
Related, we don’t let C watch a lot of anything, though it is strategic. If I am parenting alone and need to take a shower or update code that fixes a broken site, Magic School Bus or Mister Rogers is on standby. And there is a similar difficulty in shutting that down as well, so a lot of prep goes into getting C’s opt-in to self-manage (“okay, we are going to play at the table after this episode, right?”).
I don’t think I get a lot from parenting advice; collectively, @susan and I read a ton of parenting lit., and she is a childcare professional, so it isn’t particularly difficult for us. But recently I’ve had good experience just listening to others explain their mundane, daily stories. It fills in a lot of context for me, so I’d love to hear what you are doing, with your kids. Or, what was it like for you as a kid that played video games? Share your stories!