Parenting

5 Ways Video Games Keep Parents Sane

wiiWhen you marry a video gamer, you realize you will probably raise video gaming kids. It's inevitable. What you don't realize?

One day you will realize that those video game consoles taking up space underneath your TV are the best friends you can always count on. Learn to use them wisely, and those gadgets and gizmos can make you a saner,  nicer, kinder parent. Seriously. Just look at the evidence:

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1. Mommy and Daddy Time Outs -- Oh, you thought I meant the consoles were for the kids? They are. But the average age of gamers has been creeping up in recent years. Did you know 29 percent of people over 50 play video games? And women over the age of 18 actually represent a heftier portion of gamers than teenage boys? Mom (or Dad) spending a half hour blasting some aliens or dancing to a workout game can be all the difference between cranky, screamy parent who needs to de-stress and nice, friendly parent who has had some much-needed me-time.

2. Road Trips -- When you marry a man whose parents live 15 hours away, you learn to love the handheld game consoles for getting you through those long drives to Grandma's house. You tell me what you'd rather hear from the backseat: "Moooooooom, are we there yet?" or "Mom, this is so cool, I just got to the next level!" Just make sure you buy games that are complicated enough to last a long time!

3. Rainy Days -- Say what? The kids are bouncing off the walls, and you can't get them to calm down. Breathe in. Breathe out. And set up one of those games where they have to use their whole body,  not just their hands, to get that energy out!

4. Snow Days -- The kids hear "school is cancelled," and start cheering. You hear "no school," and all your plans to fix the leaky toilet, run some laundry, bake the cookies for the bake sale ... go out the window. Unless ... yes, parking them in front of their video game console for an hour while you race around the house is perfectly acceptable if it means saving yourself from tearing your hair out wondering how you'll get it all done.

5. Education Station -- What? From a video game? I'm not saying you abandon the books here, folks, but scientists have found that gaming can boost brainpower. Instead of stressing all the time about ways to make them better at school, use something they love -- the video game system -- to bring smarts to them. Pick out educational games that make learning fun. And focus on the action-based games that science says helps train their brain to make good decisions.

Spill it. How do you use video games for YOU, the parent?

 

Image via Soda O/Flickr

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