Involving my kids with MMOs

Despite what you may think, I’m not pushing my kids to becoming hardcore gamers by the time they’re six.  I think that physical play for them is so very important, and whatever video gaming I allow them to see or interact with is quite limited at this stage.

That said, I don’t push them away from me either when they see daddy logging into LOTRO for a 20 minute session.  Sitting on my lap and being involved is important to them, so instead of instructing them to sit still and touch nothing, I figure out small tasks they can do so that they feel like we’re a team.  “Shout out ‘spider!’ when you see a spider on screen, honey,” is one of them, and we both go “Squish!” when the spider dies.  Or I let my son have full access to the spacebar to make my character or horse jump as many times as he likes (as this doesn’t generally interfere with combat other than to make me look like a loon).

I don’t know what games I’m going to play with them when they’re older (depends on what’s around four to eight years from now), but I definitely want to be a part of their gaming life than separate from it.  I love seeing how they overflow with happiness when they’re included, and I like any opportunity to do something together.

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5 thoughts on “Involving my kids with MMOs

  1. My kids picked up Minecraft for this reason. They saw me play it and got involved. It’s like LEGOs for their generation, and it’s been awesome seeing what their imagination comes up with.

  2. We are super relaxed about this, which isn’t maybe the popular way to go at the moment. The two-year-olds can sit on my lap for short periods while I’m playing a (mostly non-violent) game and they’ll comment. They love watching me play Sims if there’s a baby or a kid. The five-year-old has her own games (Free Realms, Pirates 101, Little Space Heroes) that she plays. It hasn’t been a problem for us, because she’s just as likely to want to run around and play. I know some kids obsess and choose computer over other play (Heck, I do as an adult too often probably.), but we’ve found that letting her make her own choices about it (assuming good behavior) means she is less intense about it. Each kid is different, though. We’ll see what happens with the littles once they get big enough to actually play a game instead of just observing.

  3. My four year old was introduce to Angry Birds while we were on Christmas break by his Aunt, and he went through a phase where he was asking every day if he could play it. Then I got sick and my husband started letting him play educational flash games on the Nick Jr. website. When that started I thought, “That’s it. I’ve lost my son to games and he’s only four! I thought I at least had a few years left before he followed in Mummy’s footsteps!” but he has surprised me and only asks to play very occasionally. His wooden train set seems to be back in vogue!

    I do love the idea of incorporating kids into gaming rather than pushing them away. I had a bit of a laugh when my husband tried to teach our son how to mine in WoW. It just ended up with his character up in the air in the middle of nowhere. That space bar is just too much fun :P

  4. I try to avoid the combat part in front of my kids because of their ages, but I will log on in front of them if I just need to get a toon from point A to point B to save some time for after they go to bed. My 2-year-old also loves watching my warsteed ride around Rohan and making it jump over walls and streams. I figure that its a chance to improve his vocabulary as I describe what things are and what’s happening.

  5. Last year, I introduced my then 3 year old to Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. My son would sit on my lap and would shoot the “bad guys” while daddy steered whichever character around.

    Fast forward to this year and my now 4 year old son and I are co-oping Skylanders: Giants. While the game is okay, spending time with my son, in this way, is freaking awesome! I love sharing something that I love with him.

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