Posted by: Jamie Stamm | February 21, 2008

Raising a gamer

Our daughter, Cera, loves video games so much that my husband and I have allowed them to become part of her daily routine. After her bath each night, she is allowed to curl up in her Daddy’s lap for 15 to 20 minutes and play an age-appropriate game on the Wii or Xbox.

Though some might call this bad parenting, I think playing video games has boosted her problem-solving skills (oftentimes, she’ll figure out a puzzle before my husband does) and given her the most vivid imagination I’ve ever encountered in a 5-year-old (she has an imaginary dragon friend based on a video game character who has been with us for almost two years now, and she has created an entire family and world for him – it’s pretty amazing).

Plus, playing video games is interactive – to me, that’s much better than allowing her to plop down in front of the TV for 30 minutes of cartoons. And please note that at our house, game time is always followed by an equal or greater amount of reading, both us to our daughter and her to us. I like to think of it as striking a good balance (and game time gives me 15 minutes to work in the kitchen uninterrupted).

That said, the following conversation, which took place in our van this morning on the way to day care, made me wonder just how much gaming is too much. The kids were playing with ponies during the following exchange:

Anthony (our 2-year-old): Mommy horse, come over here.

Cera: Hold on a second. I have to power up. (Pauses) Now I can super jump.

I couldn’t stop laughing. What have we done?!?

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