By Miss Butterflies
Playing together doesn’t always mean ‘in real life’…
In a world where parents are constantly being told to get children outdoors more and reduce their ‘screen time’, I would like to offer an alternative perspective.
I am a mum to two geeky gamer girls who love online gaming, especially games where they are involved in creating new worlds and playing with their friends.
I find the trick here is to remember the joy in video games and to find the balance… there is nothing wrong with gaming, and if you are still in doubt there is only one way forward – join in!
It all started with Minecraft…
I started gaming with my girls a couple of years ago when I set up a Minecraft account and we built a world together.
I have to say, doing the obligatory looking at them play and seeing their worlds is completely different to actually gaming yourself.
When I was watching them play, it actually made my eyes go funny and I was feeling nauseous at the speed, but that was because I was going at their pace and not mine. Once I played with them on my own device, we literally created a whole new world.
We got really busy and built an island in the sky, made houses, had sleep overs and created gardens. It was so creative and we laughed (mostly at me doing things wrong) but we laughed so much I didn’t mind being the cause.
As they grow up and explore different platforms and games, I find the way forward is balance.
I don’t have to make excuses here, my geeks get plenty of sunshine, activity and sports time. They dance, run and play on the trampoline, we have grown veggies, we bake and we read together – but we also game together too, and I think from a parents perspective its important to embrace what your children love doing.
Like Roblox… they had been asking me for ages to join Roblox and I had promised them I would. On this particular occasion I kept my word and set up an account, my online name being ‘IAMACOOLMUMMY’ (I liked this – they said I was ‘derpy?!?)
They were also begging to become Master Builders (a subscription service) and so I hatched an evil plan. In exchange for their monthly Master Builder sub, they would have to put all the laundry away every week. We sealed the deal and I signed them up, on the condition that I could cancel it if they didn’t hold up their side of the bargain, it was a win/win from all perspectives!
So now we were all signed up, and after they had got me a cool outfit (I chose a Sonic T-shirt and some denim shorts), we started to play.
It really is good fun…
Aside from the obvious fun of playing games with my children, its also a fantastic learning opportunity. They get to be the teacher in many cases, as a lot of the time they have played the games first and are a lot better at it than me.
The first time I played Minecraft for example, they kept grabbing the iPad off me when I was messing things up, which from my perspective was very frustrating! Also they once kicked me off a roller coaster on Roblox, even though it had taken me 10 attempts to actually get on the thing for a ride! At these points I usually stop play and have a chat with them.
I explain its no fun when they grab stuff off me to show me how to do things, how am I ever going to learn? They realise that they need to be patient here, I am a ‘noob/nube/newb’ in so many cases that its very interesting turning the tables on each other.
Aside from the occasional squabble, mostly we have lots of fun and I get to play with them and importantly, I understand what they are talking about!
Laugh out loud moments…
The best moment so far was when they were playing downstairs, and I was working upstairs and during a break I decided to log in and go and find them. I found them at a disco, where I proceeded to join in with my best funky mama dance moves! I heard the screams of excitement downstairs seconds before the thundering of footsteps up the stairs as they came in to laugh at my dancing. It is seriously a lot of fun seeing how much they love me joining in the games, despite the very uncool dancing and apparently I should have bought a new outfit first as I still had my Sonic the Hedgehog t-shirt on, but it was all ok as they then took me shopping and taught me how to get a cooler outfit.
I can honestly say gaming with your children will be a lot more fun than you think, and seriously – I’d rather do this than watch the news any day!
If you enjoyed this article, read more in our latest issue of Geek Parenting.