Nintendo anyone?

Alright, I admit it, I broke my own rule.  I was determined to not introduce video games to my children just yet.  They are almost 6 and almost 4.  I see kids today glued to computers or hand helds and I wanted to hold off as long as possible, but then my best friend and her three munchkins came to visit and my world changed!  Her kids, ages 8, 6 and 4, each have their own Nintendo DS.  I had never seen one before so I didn’t know what it was.  Needless to say, they drove 8 hours to spend a long weekend with us and, not that I am defending video games, but I probably saw them each pick up the DS for about 5 minutes a day.  They were otherwise perfectly active kids, running around for the most part outside and only pausing to watch TV or play the DS when they were exhausted.

When my friend and her kids left, my daughter was heartbroken to see them go.  Afterall, she had never had a sleep over, much less a triple play!  She cried and cried and then asked me if she could have a DS.  Either that or a pony.  I too was crying to see my best friend leave (her first visit in 5 years, ahem ahem) so together we decided my daughter could have a DS.  We have no room for a pony, even though my daughter graciously offered to share her room with the animal. I thought the DS was like a Gameboy of yesteryear, but when I went to research it, I realized this was a) expensive and b) pretty advanced-even adults have these things!

In the end I decided to buy her a DS.  However, I told her that we would stick to the educational games and we started with Math Play and a spelling game. I hear Scholastic has a great game too but I haven’t found it yet. Let me tell you, I played the games first, to make sure they were appropriate, and they were HARD!  But they seemed like they could be productive for her, if we make sure to limit her time with the thing.

From the outset we established these rules for my daughter:

  • 15 minutes of piano practice a day
  • 15 minutes of reading alone, not with an adult reading to her
  • Only then can she play the DS
  • DS games must be educational-no mindless games
  • 15 minutes of DS a day maximum.
  • She has to take care of the DS and the games and make sure they don’t get lost or stolen by her 3 -year old little brother.

It’s my experiment, we’ll see how it all works out.  Of course I gave in and bought her the DS and didn’t need to.  But is this one of those things that I worried about too much and is really just a fact of modern childhood today?

What do you guys think and do your kids play video games?

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Rachael Ray