Playful Parenting: Bringing Play to Every Day

Playful Parenting: Bringing Play to Every Day

Sometimes I think I should learn to play the video games my kids love, like Minecraft, Pokemon, or games on Roblox, so that I can play the games with them. The problem is that I really don’t like those games. Should I try harder?

Erin Walsh

Erin is a Minneapolis-based parent, speaker, educator, and writer. She is also the co-founder (with her father, Dr. David Walsh) of Spark & Stitch Institute, aimed at using a deep understanding of brain science to develop practical strategies for raising connected and courageous kids, online and off.


Erin Walsh : There’s much evidence showing that watching shows and playing video games with our kids is beneficial. So, I think it’s worth dabbling in, but it’s also about balance. Learn enough to have a sense of what the game is about and get good enough for your kid to teach you something, but you don’t have to host tournaments or become an expert.

By spending time playing games they love, we build relationship capital and we get some perspective on how they’re spending their time. But it can backfire if problematic content comes up and we don’t address it. For example, if there’s a racist or sexist stereotype in a game and I don’t say anything as the parent, that signals my approval. That’s worse than if they see it while watching alone. So, if you’re planning to play or watch with your child, be ready to engage them in conversation. It’s definitely worth the effort.

We’ve all had those moments when we wished parenting came with a handy guidebook. Here’s the next best thing: Real questions posed by parents and caregivers answered by top experts in child health and development.

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