Things to consider about your child’s engagement in game play
- What is the classification of the game?
- Is the game beneficial for my child? (i.e., fun, strategy based, creative, social)
- Are time limits in place and is the environment safe (including the online environment)?
- Am I concerned about my child’s emotional health, wellbeing and social interactions?
- Does my child seem to have the need to play more and more?
- Is my child showing aggressive behaviours or sleeping problems?
Helpful points for a good bedtime routine, fun and safe interactions, exercising the brain and body
- Negotiating family rules for online safety/game play
- Allowing time for exercise (at least one hour/day)
- Movement breaks during game play
- Selecting cooperative and collaborative games
- Dimming the lights and the screens at night
- Engaging in a calming activity half an hour before bed
Setting boundaries for electronic game play
- Approach your child with a calm voice and acknowledge their feelings around game play. For example, “I can see that this game is fun and exciting for you and that you want to play some more”. If you child seems to feel distressed or is being resistant, it may be helpful to comment about feelings, “I know it is disappointing that you cannot have more time to play this game”.
- Next, communicate the limit “You can choose to play one more round or you can pack it away now”.
- Finally, negotiate acceptable alternatives, “You can have some time for outdoor play or you can help cut up veggies for dinner”.
My top 5 favourite fun and social games for families
- Super Mario Bros: take part in an adventure with Mario and friends in multiplayer mode. You need to hang together and help each other out to get to the next level.
- Mario Kart: find a play partner and race together in different worlds, learn to navigate your way around barriers, obstacles and keep an eye on each other on the race track!
- Just Dance: just dance gets you moving, laughing and learning! Suitable for young children, teens and adults.
- Wii Sports: choose a favourite sport or learn to play a new sport. Just make sure you have enough room in the house to stretch out your muscles and avoid any collisions with team members.
- Guitar Hero World Tour: gather up the band and learn to play some tunes! Get into teams and take turns playing different musical instruments.
Evrim Ulusoy is a psychologist at Hopscotch and Harmony, and her work involves play-based therapeutic interventions with preschool aged and primary school aged children. Evrim provides a supportive and engaging environment for children to share their challenges and the impact on their personal wellbeing and relationships. Call 9741 5222 to make an appointment with Evrim at Hopscotch & Harmony's Werribee practice.