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Why Playtime with Your Kids Works Best Without Video Games.

Children and teens in the United States love video games. The University of Vanderbilt tells us that nearly ten percent of American youths are considered to be addicted to video games. Over eighty percent of children play some kind of video games with at least some regularity, and that number is only likely to keep increasing as tablets, phones and computers come preloaded with games of all kinds.

With the video game industry ruling the Christmas wish lists and entertainment at large, is there a way to take back your child’s playtime from the television screen? Experts at Allen family counseling centers suggest you take an educated approach and collaborate with your child on reforming family fun time, together.

Content Without Context

One of the major concerns with video games is that children will often select violent games that are inappropriate for their age and level of understanding if left to make the choice on their own. Furthermore, many parents either blindly allow their child to choose and play any game they like, or fail to research the content of the games they are allowing their child to enjoy.Dallas area counselors recommend paying careful attention to what kinds of games your child is asking to play and enforcing rules about age appropriate content. Additionally, if your child is exposed to games that fall outside their recommended age range, be sure to provide context for the things they are seeing presenting in-game.

Give Them Other Options

One reason why parents often allow their children to indulge in video games is that they feel there are few other options for their child for recreation. While it can be more difficult to find hobbies for teenagers, this excuse has begun to creep into the parenting of children as young as primary school. There are simply too many other games, toys and activities available to your child to let this be the case!

Babble offers a look at the many possible alternatives you can offer a child of any age to sitting in front of a screen for fun. For solo play time, consider game designing software or art supplies as a way for your child to continue exercising and expanding their creativity. If you have a child who loves world-building games, offer physical alternatives like Lego sets. For the fantasy-lover in your family, look for trading card games, dice and board games that offer the same fantasy experience with the added advantage of socialization and teamwork. These games encourage your child to make friends, enjoy games with family and more.

Board games are a classic alternative to electronic games for those who want a little extra family time. Don’t have time to gather around the table? Consider movie trivia games in the living room one evening, or outdoor activities in the yard, pool or elsewhere. For every type of family, there is a game waiting to be played!

Not All Bad

Too much media of any kind can be detrimental to your child’s development. This is not to say that video games can never be part of your child’s playtime, or even an important part of your family’s quality time together. A family game night of classics like Mario Cart racing can be a cherished memory for your children. As with most things, the issue is moderation and careful consideration. Be sure that the video games your child is playing are age-appropriate, moderated in the amount of time your child invests in playing them, and never taking priority over other, more important matters in their lives. As long as you help your child maintain this balance, there is no reason why video games can’t play a part in your modern child’s love of being home with their family.

About the Author:

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan knows a thing or two about kids and families. First, she knows they are joyous, exhilarating, loving and so darn fun. Second, she knows they suck your life dry and make you weep like a baby. By day she’s a psychotherapist; by night she’s a mom and wife. She claims to love therapizing couples, educating parents, reading dystopian fiction and sleeping in her free time (read: she never sleeps). Jennifer has spent over 12 years in private practice working with individuals, couples, and parents who are faced with kid-drama, mamma-drama, and family-drama, and she claims that although some stories make a grown woman cry, she loves it.
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