Let’s face it, kids love video games. For my generation it was going to the arcade or playing Atari…anyone remember Tron? When that arcade game out, I can remember going to the bowling alley and putting quarter after quarter into the machine and playing over and over, trying to get to the next level. As I became more proficient at playing and could move through each level with ease, the game became harder and harder. And it was the challenge of getting the high score or reaching the next level that I loved.
Video games are fun that way. They are entertaining and now, very interactive. For this generation, you might even say they are addictive. So without getting into the negative impacts of video games (and there are plenty) humor me in this analogy and let’s note 10 things that video games can teach us about raising our children:
- Keep it simple: It doesn’t matter if it is Madden 2012 or Call of Duty: video games are easy to understand. Give your children simple instructions that are part of your larger goal. If you want to teach your child pride, then start simply with training them to take care of their room and toys by putting things away.
- Give honest feedback: When you kids play video games, if they mess up, they simply die or start over. The concept of trying again is a good one and helps your child understand that life is not that clean. Make your expectation an objective…just like achieving a high score.
- Establish clear and realistic goals: Getting to the next level is often the goal in video games. Have a clear and realistic goal for your child to reach or fail to reach. Either way, if the goal is clear, then your child will learn from the experience.
- It’s okay to fail: So often we want to protect our children from failing. But making mistakes and failing is a part of life, so give your children a safe place to fail. In a video game, you have to try multiple times to reach the next level. It is part of the process of improving.
- Try again: The more we repeat things that, there more proficient we become. Expertise and knowledge comes from experience.
- Set limits: Budgets, restrictions, etc. all teach us the same thing that, there are limits. In a video game, when time starts to run out, the pressure begins to increase and we work faster and harder with greater efficiency. Setting limits for your children teaches them all of those things.
- Involve them in solving the problem: In video games, you cannot move on to the next level until you have developed the skill necessary to progress. Use this same idea to focus on a particular skill that your child is weak in.
- Celebrate improvement: It feels good to accomplish something. Praise the positives. Develop in your child a belief in achievement!
- Recognize success: Publicly and privately praise your children whenever you have the chance. Being recognized is a powerful motivator.
- Encourage doing better: Consistent improvement over time is really the goal. Life brings more challenges as we grow older. Build into your child a mindset that each step is important and that the growth process is actually more important than just winning and losing.
As a parent, your goal is to watch for the many valuable opportunities to train and teach your child every day. In doing so, your relationship becomes a stronger and stronger one that will stand the test of time!
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