I like to teach my son Owen lots of things. At the age of two I taught him all the letters and sounds of the alphabet. We’ve worked on numbers, counting, sight words, digraphs, and all sorts of other math and reading skills. He’s currently 3 and we continue to extend his learning in many different areas. I’m very proud of how smart my little guy is. I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for teaching him all these things at such an early age. But, there is one thing I’ve struggled to be proud of, and that is this. My three year old plays videogames. And he does it well.
Before children, my husband Tim enjoyed playing various videogames in his downtime. He still enjoys videogames, but now with three children, this whole “down time” doesn’t really exist in our family. One way that he has bonded with Owen is that he has taught him how to play videogames, not just on one console, but on 3… the Xbox One, the Nintendo 64, and the Game Cube. Thankfully, since Owen knows his letters, he is able to follow simple directions such as “Press Y to do this” or “Press B to jump.” (You’re welcome for that by the way Tim). Slowly but surely Owen was able to make his characters in the games actually do stuff and go places.
Lately Owen has been able to do a lot on the games. So much in fact, that I don’t know how he knows how to do certain things on his own. He will often ask me for help with a level that he is doing, and quite frankly I have no clue how to help him. He has really impressed me with his critical thinking skills when figuring out different puzzles and activities in these games.
As much as I hate to admit it, I think videogames have been an ok thing in our house. It is definitely something that has to be utilized in moderation, because let’s be honest here, he would be on it all day everyday if I let him. I am totally guilty of using it as a crutch this summer after welcoming baby number three. We were stuck in the house for about two months to keep germs at bay as much as possible. Since then, we have created a schedule for days and times that he is allowed to play. So far, this has worked nicely. In my opinion, videogames has been slightly better than just allowing him to watch Tom and Jerry all day on the television. He at least has to use some problem solving skills and is practicing his fine motor skills using the controller.
All in all, there could be much worse things than letting my kid play videogames.