Making the most of video games for kids

The best way for your child to learn from video games is when you play together. An added bonus is that you’ll spend some time with each other and have fun!

Here are some ideas for making the most of video games with your child.

  • Set ground rules about screen time : screen time is the time you spend each day watching TV, DVDs, computers and other screens. Children aged 2-5 years should have no more one hour of screen time a day, and children over five should have no more than two hours in front of screens each day.
  • Aim for balance in your family activities: make sure that everyone has a go at physical activity, creative play and social games. Talk with your children about getting the right balance between indoor play time, outdoor fun, homework and time spent with friends.
  • Get involved: asking your child to show you how a game works is the best way to tune into what he’s learning. Make a mental note of the kinds of games he enjoys and finds challenging. If he’s really enjoying a game about dinosaurs, for example, you can broaden his knowledge by finding books or movies on the topic.
  • When you have time, play a game all the way through with your child.
  • Talk with your child about the video games she’s playing. Ask her what she likes or dislikes and what she’d change or add to make the games better. This kind of talk helps develop thinking skills.
  • Be informed: read reviews of the games you think might be suitable for your child. Make sure you carefully read the blurb on the game’s cover, and don’t forget to check the game’s rating – games rated G or PG are more likely to suit young children.
  • Borrow before buying: if possible, borrow games from a library, DVD store or a friend before you buy them. You might find that your child isn’t interested in a particular game, or you don’t approve of the game’s content or concepts.