While making supper at the stove tonight I could hear my husband and 7 year old son in our bedroom directly off the kitchen, playing HALO 4.
I enjoy listening to them in the next room playing games and laughing together when I make dinner. My husband is mostly bed bound with CFS/ME and he doesn't get the opportunity to play hockey or baseball or ride bikes etc with his kids.
Movies, tv series,comics, books and video games is their way to do things together, because they can cuddle up on our bed together and go off on a fantasy journey together to far off places in their time together without ever leaving the bedroom.
Spending this one on one time with dad playing their video games gives me the space I need to focus on dinner and it often makes me smile, while I listen to them play together. They get so involved in the game, and often yell out in excitement when the story in the game gets tense.
"Stay on my 4! Stay on my 4 o 'clock!!" I hear my husband yell at my son, amid a barrage of gun fire in the game.
My son is silent, and I just know he is sitting there with no clue what my husband means, worried he is going to do the wrong thing, so not doing anything at all. My husband's voice raises in pitch as he is being shot at and killed in the game while he is yelling to the boy to watch his back and not get in his shooting way.
"He doesn't know what you mean by 'stay on my 4', honey. He can't tell time yet!" I shout into the bedroom as I stir fry the green peppers into the teriyaki beef.
I giggle to myself as I hear the game pause and my husband asks the boy, "do you know what I mean by stay on my 4?"
I see in my mind, my son sitting on the bed holding his controller looking at his dad, shaking his head no. My vision was confirmed correct as I then hear my husband take 10 minutes out of the game to explain the analogue clock and the number positions and what "stay on my 6", and " shooter on your 7" etc, means.
We have been trying to teach him how to tell time on the clock for some time now. He gets what quarter past and half past mean, and is understanding that 60 seconds is a minute etc, but he still was not getting it all together as a whole concept.
With playing a game with dad, he now has a clearer understanding of the whole clock, and is applying his knowledge to figuring out what time it is. This is HUGE for a kid who is dyslexic and see digits and letters backwards.
YOU LET YOU KIDS PLAY SHOOTER VIDEO GAMES!?
My son has sat and watched daddy play the halo franchise for a while now, enjoying it as some "time with daddy" and as an interactive movie of sorts, while being to young to play well. But, recently when he finished the main story of HALO 4 in about 20 hours after we bought it, my husband started playing Spartan Ops with the kids, taking turns each evening with them playing two player co-op games. In the game both players are Master Chief, so the second player is "Master Chief junior "so to speak. I never thought that playing Halo would teach my son how to tell time but I'll take it. HE struggles with reading and sounds due to his dyslexia and CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder). He learns better when his examples are interesting to him.
So, when I really sat during dinner and thought about it while watching them talk about the game laughing and discussing how they will work together to get through the game better, I realized that this is also one of those moments in life where a lesson can be taught.
TMO plays the game with the kid basically being his backup, and then gives them chances to go ahead of him and take the lead in the less crazy scenes in the game.
Some parents may balk at first person shooter games being bad for kids but I just witnessed Halo4 teach my 7 year old son how to tell time, and given the quality time they get to spend together with dad, and witnessing how it teaches them how to work together as a team in cooperative play. You can be sure, I am not one of those people.
Add "gamer mom" to my many name tags.
What everyday life events teach your kids things that others would look at as "goofing off"?