Geeky Parent Guide: Taking Part in My Kids’ Nintendo Switch Experience

My kids were extremely fortunate to receive a Nintendo Switch as a Christmas gift from their grandparents this past year. This is their very first gaming system where they could play on their televisions – and that’s a big deal! They’ve played games on tablets and were lucky to have older Nintendo DS units passed down to them, but playing a game from your TV is a really big step forward (in my humble opinion).

So, I want to share how amazing and important this new experience has been for my kids this past month. Yes, having games to play is one thing, but having to share a device is a wonderfully unique thing for them to experience together. As a kid, I had my own original Nintendo system and I played it on a 13-inch, black-and-white TV. That’s right; I had a black-and-white TV, and I would still play two-player so I could play Luigi even though they were identical.

Nintendo might be the one thing that’s most nostalgic for me as an adult. I adored games like Legend of Zelda, Kid Icarus, and Super Mario Bros. I had an original system, as well as the Super NES, and I have wonderful memories of listening to music while turning on the gaming system. I want Marshall and Adelaide to have these fond memories, as well, and they’ll also have these memories together. I enjoyed arcades as a kid, and I absolutely loved the challenge of playing a new game or replaying a favorite over and over. They have already experienced this, and playing Nintendo Switch together allows them to face that challenge together.




“Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”

A phrase we sometimes say in our household, teamwork is something they’ve had to adjust to with this game, New Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. With other video games, they’ve never been able to experience playing at the exact same time. Heck, I had never experienced that before (to my recollection). It’s been a while since I’ve owned a gaming system, so getting to share this with them – or when they want me to play – is such an amazing thing.

I’ve watched them play. I’ve listened to them from upstairs, because sometimes they’re laughing or screeching. There’s also been some frustrations they’ve had to work through. They’ve both had to figure out how to not get too far ahead, or understand when one accidentally jumps on the other and causes them to get hit by a fireball, it was unintentional. This united effort really does take some work and I have enjoyed placing the responsibilities of problem solving on their shoulders.

It’s easy to get frustrated when something like that happens as a kid, but I am thrilled to know they’re doing a great job at bypassing these moments with relative ease. Yes, there have been moments where one blames the other for something, but then they realize it was just an accident. This type of coordination and teamwork is something I’m fond of as they play on their Nintendo Switch.





Structuring Time for Their Gameplay

One thing that we try to do is make sure physical activity coincides with playing video games. I played a lot of basketball growing up, so sitting down in front of the TV to play wasn’t a big deal. That’s one of the agreements we talked about with the kids when they first got their Switch. Plus, I’m homeschooling the kiddos and I will do an occasional exercise video with the kids or most often just do simple exercises inside (when it’s too cold out). One of the easiest activities is having the kids mirror my movements; this is where I’ll run in place and then drop down to the plank position. It’s easy, the kids usually laugh as they try to hold their position, and it’s something they can duplicate on their own.

On top of making sure they stay somewhat active, we give them a designated amount of time to play each week. They’re allotted three hours currently and when they want to play (after school has finished), they track their time on a dry-erase board. We’ve been using this system for a while and it seems to work out okay. Honestly, I’m not sure if we should increase their time at some point or not. They’re ages 7 and 9, so we’re hoping by providing this structured system of tracking their playing time, it also gives them a sense of responsibility for when they get to play and how often.




Being a Part of Their Nintendo Experience

As a parent, I’m fully aware of the time when my kids might not want to spend a lot of time with me. It’s heartbreaking to a degree, but I know that reality could come around one day. Until that day happens, I do want to take advantage of as many opportunities to be involved. And, yes, that’s especially true with playing an updated version of Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Switch.

It’s a good feeling when your kids ask you to watch them play, or ask if you want to take one of their turns playing so I can play with each of them. I love it. I’m grateful that my kids have this amazingly fun gaming console, and I’m even more ecstatic that they want me to partake in some way. It’s especially cool when they watch me and I hear them say, “Whoa!” or “You’re so good, dad!” It does make me feel really good. I knew that all of those hours playing video games as a kid would pay off one day.

If I were to share some advice for anyone that enjoys playing video games (or doesn’t), let your kids have a console that they can connect to a TV. It’s such a larger-than-life experience compared to handheld games. Watching and listening to them play, or joining forces with your kids to make it through each level, it’s worth the time spent together. I adore the time I get to spend with them, and I hope it’s a nice way for us to always connect, for as long as they want to continue playing.


Do you and your kids have a Nintendo Switch or some other gaming system? Do you have any favorite games? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! And if you’d like to see more gaming content like this, please let me know and don’t forget to like and share this article with all of your geeky friends over on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.




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