Tips on how to balance your kids and gaming hobby—it can be done!
If you’re reading this then you obviously have kids (or maybe you’re expecting a kid) and want to discover how to get your ‘me’ time to indulge in some sweet gaming relaxation. For your benefit, I’ve listed some helpful tips that have all been tested in one way or another through personal, and sometimes frustrating, experiences. Hopefully this short read will show you just how to play games after you’ve had kids.
A Note From The Author
Now, a bit about myself and my knowledge in this arena, I actually have six kids. Yes, you read that right—six. And let me tell you, I’ve heard every joke under the sun with the most popular one being a reference to me not having a T.V (when in actual fact I have five). I think my wife and I might just be addicted to raising children… But anyway, I digress. If you think you’ve got an original joke for me about the number of my kids let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear something original. So, with my six kids in tow you might think finding game time is impossible. Well people, it’s most certainly not.
“I actually have six kids. Yes, you read that right—six.”
Don’t get me wrong, there’ll be plenty of times when you’ll just have to shelve any idea of playing a video game. Your kids need your love and attention after all. Also, the age of the child will dictate how much game time you can afford to have. For example, a one year old is going to require more attention than a five year old. Just like a five year old is going to require more attention than a ten year old and so on, and so on. For me, my kids’ ages are pretty evenly spread between the oldest, who’s fourteen, and the youngest, who’s one. So even with a wide gamut of ages, I’m going to share with you just how to play games after you’ve had kids.
A Quick Disclaimer
I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw this disclaimer in though; these days I play most of my games while I’m away travelling for work (check out my travelling gamer article). And no, getting an away job to play games is NOT one of my tips. Having said that, I wasn’t always travelling, and there’s also the time I have at home between jobs. So the tips listed below still hold true and like I said, there all from personal experience. Also, I just want to say, I love my children more than I like video games—period. I cherish every moment I have with them and am always looking for opportunities to do interactive ‘non-video game’ activities with them.
Getting parents to spend less time with their children, isn’t the reason why I wrote these tips. I wrote them so Mums and Dads could get some quality gaming in when they do have free time. So, with that in mind let’s get into it.
- WHEN ITS NAP TIME, DON’T RUSH PUTTING YOUR CHILD DOWN FOR A SLEEP
If you’re hurrying to get online and don’t ensure your child is fully fed, comfortable and most importantly—asleep. Then you’re going to find yourself trying to hide in a corner of the map while you rush to your child’s crying screams. Get your child fully comfortable and asleep happily before thinking about sneaking in some game time. Oh, and make sure your sound is right down as well so you can tell if your child wakes up. Otherwise I would recommend sitting a baby monitor next to you.
- TAKE TIME AWAY FROM CONSOLE AND PC GAMING AND USE YOUR PHONE
Console and PC gaming have something thing in common, they almost always require two hands to play. But, playing games on your phone can usually be done with one. So while you’re rocking baby and singing lullabies, you could also be playing Auto Chess, Candy Crush, or even Hearthstone. Just remember to put your phone on silent because the last thing you want is baby waking up from a phone call just as they were falling to sleep. This has happened to me more than I’d like to admit.
- GET MORE ENTERTAINMENT DEVICES
“Currently, my one year old’s mission in life is to grab my phone and eat it. So if you want gaming time, you might have to get your own T.V. or monitor.”
As your child grows they will most assuredly be interested in Mum and Dad’s T.V, phone, tablet or any other entertainment device they can get their hands on. Currently, my one year old’s mission in life is to grab my phone and eat it. So if you want gaming time, you might have to get your own T.V. or monitor. I know this one sounds like it’s easier said than done. But trust me, investing some of your hard earned cash into a T.V or tablet for the kids should increase your personal time by a fair stretch. Or, you could invest that money into a play area for your child so they can busy themselves with toys and arts or craft.
- SETUP AND PREPARATION IS CRUCIAL
There’s nothing worse than completing all of your ‘pre-game must do’s’ and finally sitting down only to be notified you have a 25 Gig update. Now there’s ways around this, like having your console set to auto-update and using instant-on mode (or whatever console’s equivalent is). However, if you’re like me and try to save power (I need to feed six kids after all), your console is set to energy saving mode. So if you know you’ll be playing games later, than turn on your console or PC early and check for any updates you might have to download. Also, don’t forget to charge your peripherals as well. Controllers, headphones, mouse, keyboard, basically anything wireless that requires charging, make sure it’s charged. Lastly, decide what game you’ll be playing before you sit and relax. You don’t want to be ‘umming and ahing’ wasting the precious little time you might have.
- WATCH YOUR KIDS PLAY GAMES INSTEAD OF PLAYING YOURSELF
Admittedly, this one doesn’t help you play games at all. But, watching your child’s face light up as they lead Mario around the screen for the first time in their life is priceless. Try to remember when you first played a video game. How enjoyable was it? Did one of your parents watch on, give you encouragement and enjoy in your ‘king of the world’ game clocking successes? Mine didn’t, and that’s not a jab at my parents, not at all. They just didn’t understand the magic of video games having little to no exposure to them growing up. You, as a gaming parent however, understand that magic all too well, and now you can witness your child enjoy it like you did.
- WHAT’S BETTER THAN WATCHING YOUR KIDS PLAY? PLAYING WITH YOUR KIDS
“Weather it’s playing with two of my sons in Apex Legends or building a kitten farm in Minecraft with my daughter, my kids always want to play with me.”
I have children at an age now where they can really challenge and sometimes beat me at any given game. To play games with the kids locally or online is a blast. Weather it’s playing with two of my sons in Apex Legends or building a kitten farm in Minecraft with my daughter, my kids always want to play with me. When I’m away for work, skyping is great, but does it beat playing a competitive online multiplayer game together? I know what my kids would say. Somehow playing together as a team, rejoicing in victories and laughing at failures temporarily eliminates the age gap between parent and child, facilitating a camaraderie that’s uniquely special. It’s also a lot of fun having a LAN party in the house with your kids.
- WAKE UP BEFORE THE HOUSEHOLD GETS UP
Watch out for sleep deprivation here. If you have a baby you’ll need as much sleep as you can get so tread caution with this tip. In saying that, getting up early to play some games is much better than staying up too late. This is due to a few reasons. Firstly, I think it’s important to go to bed the same time as your partner. My six kids are testament to that. But seriously, don’t let games get in the way of your relationship with your better half. It’s just not worth it.
Secondly, playing in the morning will let you have quality time with your kids as you put them to bed in the night. It’ll also stop you from rushing to play games and leaving the kitchen messy after dinner. How many times have you told your partner you’ll clean it after the next game but before you know it everyone’s in bed and you’re still playing games?
Lastly, if your kids are like mine, they’ll wake up way before your partner does. So when you’re early morning game time comes to a stop, help your kids get ready for the day. Your wife will love you for it, because a) she’s had a sleep in, and b) everything’s done for her. Of course she’ll be none the wiser that you’ve had a few sneaky games, but that’s all good. Just be sure not to do this too often, for obvious reasons.
Well I hope this small list of tips helps you realise just how easy it is to play games after you’ve had kids. And, that it doesn’t matter how many kids you have. Yes, when your children are younger you’re total game time could be hovering around the zero hours mark. But as they grow and get older your time will free up incrementally. You’ll also be rewarded by having some gaming buddies you share a link with that no one else can give you. Just make sure you nurture that relationship and not destroy it by always defeating your kids in games, let them win a few too. 😊
If figuring out how to play games after you’ve had kids isn’t a problem, but having your partner not wanting you to play at all is? Then check out my article on – My wife doesn’t like me playing video games.
By Izzy Davis | 2019
Featured Image credit: www.lyncconf.com/
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