I have a confession to make: I’m a 42 year-old mom and I play Pokemon Go.
I have two teenage boys, ages 18 & 16. They are video game fanatics, and they play Pokemon. My husband too. I thought it was great that they were playing together. They had something to talk about, something more in common between their worlds. I thought I could be content just going out “hunting” with them and generally hanging out. Turns out – that’s pretty boring and I found myself on the outside of their conversations. SO last night while we were standing around a Poke Stop and they were discussing which ones they were catching and talking to strangers – gasp! – about the gym nearby and who “owns” it, I decided to download the game and play along. My 16 year-old got SO excited when he saw what I was doing. Haha! I have to admit, it’s pretty entertaining. I can see how it is addicting for some people. You have to go out walking and find the Pokemon and catch them. We have taken several walks together as a family in the past week. I can’t tell you the last time we did that.
I can hear some of you now…”what a waste of time, why would you do that?” Here’s why:
I learned years ago that spending time with my kids meant getting involved in what they are interested in. Having boys, that often means sitting down and playing a video game with them. I meet them where they are. We have conversations about games that can turn into meaningful life conversations. Do I want their memories of me to be about me always giving them grief for the games they played and the things that interested them? Or do I want them to remember how I sat down – or in this case – walked around – and played with them? There is a balance and playing with them gives me the opportunity to talk about and demonstrate how to play in moderation. How to balance video games with real life.
My encouragement for you parents is to meet your kids where they are at. If you have “littles”, get down on the floor and play with them. Get involved in their make-believe world. When they get older, learn about the things they are interested in, wether it’s computers, sports, or books. Get involved with them. That’s all they want – your time and attention. You might be thinking “how is playing video games giving them attention?” Trust me – I had to learn that one. My boys love it when I do that. Playing a game together creates teamwork and communication. I heard of a study that found when a group of people are playing the same game together , their bodies physically sync together. Heart rate, respiration, etc. That’s pretty awesome!
So, even if it’s not something you would otherwise be interested in, jump in a play with your kids. No matter their age or activity. Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve gotta catch ’em all!!