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Granny's Healthy Gaming Tips
Have you had those moments when you stood up from a couple of hours of playing video games, with either a dreadful feeling of having spent time unproductively,
or the satisfaction that you have used your time wisely. Although video games have had an unhealthy reputation, even the most skeptical among us would have to
admit that at the least, gaming can hone certain skills, the most evident of which is hand-eye coordination. Gaming after all takes skill to do well. It can
also develop good sportsmanship and communication skills if done with friends or members of the family. Moreover, bonds are either strengthened or rekindled even while the whole family is transfixed by a video screen.
I guess like in all other leisure activities, the key is knowing how to keep the habit good, rather than bad.
A good number of experts believe that one night a week spent together playing games is a salutary practice for families. Of course, the games of choice for these experts would probably be board rather than video games. However, given the lifelike 3D graphics that ubiquitous video games today offer, parents will be hard-pressed to keep their kids focused on a game of Scrabble. Faced with such a reality, experts have turned to keeping it healthy for people who have taken to gaming.
Here are some of healthy gaming tips from two sources: *
- Keep gaming time within limits. The accepted wisdom is an hour and a half when gaming is done with family. Here’s how one source explains this recommended period of time, “The family has ample time to get into the game, but nobody will sink into a pit of screen fatigue.”** When done alone, two hours is the non-negotiable upper limit for kids.
- Come up with healthy options for snacks. Keep it junk-free. Skip the soda and chips, and serve up the veggies and fruits instead.
- Opt for games that encourage cooperation. These games entertain while they build cohesion among family members.
- Both our sources recommend establishing parental controls. Almost all game consoles today have built-in controls for usage time and content.
- Keep it active! There are games that require movement or some form of exercise. Mix them into your gaming hours.
- Finish your game sessions at least an hour before bedtime. Gaming can be intense. Sleep experts recommend a relaxed mind before going to sleep.
- Dr. Clem Bottino of Children’s Hospital Boston recommends a 1 to 1 ratio between physical activities and playing video games.***
- You can also use video games as a reward for finishing school work or doing house chores.
Maybe stick this to the refrigerator. I am confident your kids won’t complain about you playing their favorite games with them. Generally, there’s nothing kids want more than bonding with their parents or elders, while engaging in an activity they love. Moreover, kids like to show their parents what they do well. It’s like riding a bike when they say, “Look mom! No hands!” This is all part of the bitter sweet reality of parenthood. Parents let their kids learn life skills that will serve them well when they eventually leave home.
Wouldn’t it be heartwarming to see your kids use the same guidelines raising their families? Once you see this, you know you’ve done your job well as a parent. You can also rest in the thought that your life will extend beyond your years on earth, because your influence lives on...and you’ve been around long enough, to see it happen before you.
*http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/kids-and-technology/10-tips-video-games-habits-steinberg and http://www.jennsblahblahblog.com/10-tips-encourage-healthy-gaming-habits-kids/