It’s Stupid To Feel Guilty For Letting Your Kids Play Video Games
When I became a mother, I had a long list of “I will never’s.” As a new parent, I thought I had it all figured out. Other people might ply their kids with iPhone apps and video games but MY kids would mostly be reading books and building Lego castles. Yes, such high ideals, 2007 Valerie. The notion of letting my kids zone out on video games while I went about my business made me feel like I was phoning it in. However, I have come to realize that it’s stupid to feel guilty for letting your kids play video games. Parents need to get things done and electronic distractions can come in very handy sometimes.
My son is notorious for being an early riser. Since birth, he has preferred to wake with the chickens and to greet the day while it’s not even technically day-time yet. It has made the last several years rough, no question. While I am not a late sleeper, I do prefer the 7 am hour to pre-dawn. We have always stayed away from electronics for the kids with the main reason being my guilt, but a close second was our son’s inability to tear himself away from video games without a major meltdown.
We weren’t totally free of electronics in recent years but the kids did not always have their own. We have an iPad and an older Kindle that we had very occasionally let them use and we noticed that our son was gradually getting better at separating from it without a battle. We decided this past Christmas that letting the kids have video game systems or tablets of their own might not be a bad idea. They are getting older now and I don’t feel that same guilt over getting on the floor to play with them- they are happy on their own, might as well let them have video games to occupy them. My parents bought our son a Nintendo 3DS and we bought our daughter a Kindle Fire.
It has been less than a month since Christmas and I can already say- it was so stupid of me to feel any guilt over letting the kids play video games. Now instead of jumping on me at 5 or 6 am, my son gets out his 3DS and lets us sleep. I know this sounds lazy but after five years of rising at the crack of dawn, this is an incredible change. I am so much happier during the day and far less snippy with the kids since I’m getting more sleep than I ever have since he was born. I decided that electronics could definitely have a place in our lives without taking over our lives, which I guess was always my fear. That we would become too complacent and let them play so much that they wouldn’t play anything else. We place limits on how long they are allowed to use them and it’s mostly kept to super early morning or during times where I need to write and they are home. It’s working out great so far and we are all much happier.
So, this is one area of parenting where I am happy to eat my words. I am sort of glad we held off as long as we did- I know they learned a great deal by being forced to occupy themselves with dress-up, dolls, books and action figures instead of screens but I see now where they can fit. Every family is different and this is what worked for us. And hey, anything that earns us extra sleep, as long as no one is getting hurt, gets a thumbs up from me.
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