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The Definitive Guide To Gaming As A Parent

Definitive Guide To Gaming As A Parent

When A Gamer Becomes A Parent

All hobbyists know that if they were to become parents, there will need to be some time and energy redirected away from the hobby to their new child.

Gaming is no different.

Nevertheless, when the due date finally arrives and that sweet bundle of responsibility lands in your lap, the extent of the required sacrifice can come as quite a shock.

This is especially true in the first few months of parenthood, when the breaks are few and short and the waking hours are many and long.

But as you, your spouse and the baby acclimate to this life, a more comfortable pattern hopefully forms. Sleeping through the night, naps and general predictability come as a welcome gust of fresh air. 

"Finally!" you say, "I can regain the rest, fun, socializing and, even, therapy, that playing video games offers."

Hold on. Things won't be going back to the way they were before parenthood for a very long while. 

There are responsibilities to bear in mind and assist with. There are a whole slew of tactics and methods to deploy to help you game in the most-satisfying way. 

We elaborate on all of these in the following article.

Gaming Can Help Relieve Parenting Stress

The stress that comes from parenting can result from any number of alternating reasons. To name a few:

  • The heavy psychological burden of child-rearing.
  • The boring monotony of parent-life.
  • The endless list of household and baby-related tasks that require fulfillment.
  • The postpartum hormones have emotions out-of-wack.
  • The lack of challenge and accomplishment.
  • The loneliness of remaining home and lack of social opportunities.

Though, most parents don't suffer all of these types of stress at once, it is not uncommon to experience all of them at different times.

For someone that enjoyed gaming prior to becoming a parent (and even for some newbies) the spending of time playing a video game can help assuage or relieve some of the stress

  • Focusing on a video game can serve as a much-needed distraction from the overbearing psychological burdens related to child-rearing.
  • The fun experienced during gaming will help remove the dullness of parent-life.
  • Video games offer a break from the never-ending tasks that need to get done.
  • Obviously, playing a video game won't cure the postpartum emotional rollercoaster, but returning to some favorite hobbies will give the momentary experience of one's true self.
  • Assuming a somewhat difficult game is being played, gaming can grant the spark of challenge and accomplishment.
  • Playing video games with people online will offer some chance at socializing.

Nothing in the realm of psychological problems and solutions is ironclad, still it would seem the pursuit of hobbies you find pleasurable will likely help.

Please note: the above list focuses on the practical psychological advantages to video games. It does not get into the long-term pedagogical risks and rewards of gaming within a family. You can read all about that in this smart book: Families at Play.

Parenting Responsibilities As A Gamer

The following parenting obligations are pretty much self-evident. Still, in the heat of a really great FIFA match or when you're facing the final boss, sometimes a reminder is important. 

  • The baby always comes first. There is no game in the world as important as your child and the time you spend with them. You can always play that level again.
  • Offering to help is always the correct thing to do, even when your spouse has everything under control. They may say they're covered, and you'll be in the clear. If you're feeling extra giving, even when they refuse your assistance, give it.
  • A gaming setup - with all the wires - brings with it plenty of safety risks to a young child, so make sure to clean up when you're finished playing. Even without the safety concerns, removing clutter is a helpful gesture as well.

How To Game As A Parent - 8 Tips

How To Game As A Parent

Photos by: Ketut Subiyanto

  1. Communicate - Like many tricky areas of married life, communication is key. Convey to your partner your preparedness to be totally present while still pursuing your gaming hobby.
  2. Nap Time - The ideal time for gaming as a parent will be when your little one is asleep. Obviously, playing while they're awake is possible (see our later section) but the main bulk of time in quantity and quality-of-play will be increased then, so aim for nap time.
  3. Take Turns - In a house of two caretakers, if both are gamers, they can take turns spending time with the baby. The shifts can be divided by length of time or level completion.
  4. Separate Space - In a big enough home, designating space as an area away from baby stress can be a good way to elevate a room into a relaxed gaming zone.
  5. Portable Consoles - Playing on a portable gaming console will offer the location flexibility for busy parents. We've read of breastfeeding mothers that know how to position their babies in a way that allows them to game.
  6. Headphones - Headphones will accomplish two things for a parent. They will silence the noise that can potentially wake up a sleeping baby and will create a mental escape space for a a parent to game in peace. Just make sure the sound isn't canceled to the extent that would hamper your parenting responsibilities.
  7. Sacrifice Sleep - A doctor would never advise this, and we wouldn't either, but it's the reality for serious gamers. The bulk of a gamer's free time will be divided by three things: family, sleep and gaming. They can only choose two of them.
  8. Choose The Right Game - In the next section we list aspects to keep in mind for while choosing a game as the parent of a young child.

How To Choose Which Video Game To Play As A Baby-Parent - 4 Considerations

  1. Offline Games - Offline games will allow a parent to pause the game (without losing) when the need arises. Also, no internet-friends will be let down if a baby-related hiccup occurs.
  2. Short Online Games - So long an online game is relatively brief (say, under ten minutes) most parental tasks can be done after the game. In the meantime the significant other can get started on it.
  3. Long Unscheduled Online Games - If a parent's favorite games is of the longer variety and online, it's important not to be locked into a specific time on the scheduler. There is no predictor to how exactly a baby's day will go, so there will be lots of disappointment when a scheduled game is missed entirely.
  4. Emotion-Friendly Games - In the weeks and months after pregnancy, mom's emotions may be unusual so it's critical to know which games will help relax versus which (usually of the violent or horror variety) will only add to the inner tumult.

How To Stop Your Child From Disrupting A Video Game - 3 Ideas

Sometime, all our previously mentioned tips just aren't possible to implement and sometimes they won't accomplish their intended purpose.

Rarely, you'll get lucky and your child will be content simply by watching you game. Like this adorable baby. Again, it's rare. When it happens, savor it and be sure nothing too graphic is on the screen.

In the worst of cases, the baby is in the room, disturbing, pulling wires and grabbing the controller.

Here are some tricks to try to minimize the disturbance:

  1. Fake Controller - A fake controller may work to convince the little one that they're just like mom or dad, or even more, they may think they're playing! There's a whole slew fake controllers sold online. We at DontPlayWithThat.com hope to include a realistic-looking one in our product line soon!
  2. Toys - If the little is old enough to play with toys, they may serve as a great diversion. Hand your child these toy keys and they should be play-fidgeting for a while.
  3. Screen-Time - When all else fails, screen-time doesn't. Obviously, parents shouldn't whip out the tablet at every inconvenience, but most experts agree it's fine in moderation.

Often, none of these will work and a parent will need to take a break from gaming and attend to their child.

We'd like to end by emphasizing that, like other hobbies, a parent should never feel guilty for gaming. A new set of baby-responsibilities doesn't alter who we are as people or eject our previous enjoyments.

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