It seems like almost every child has a device to play games.
Games have replaced physical toys and books as must-have Christmas and birthday presents.
But with so many scare stories about the effects of games on children’s development, especially those that contain violence, should you ban them in your household? What are the consequences of the digital entertainment take-over?
So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of games for kids, check out fun, educational alternatives to violent games and offers tips to help integrate game-playing into your kids’ lives in a sensible way.
I guess my sons are typical boys. Teaching them in a classroom environment will only ever achieve so much. And now they are aged 7 and 10, there are certain strengths and weaknesses which seem to be coming out in their schoolwork.
Numbers. Numbers are fun for them. Give them any maths activity to do and they attack it with relish.
Words? Now they are a whole different matter.
Being a journalist and blogger, you’d think my boys would take the same kind of joy from words as I do. But I guess we’re all different. They love storytelling and have colourful imaginations.
But the technical side of words – spelling, grammar, tenses, nouns, pronouns…….. start teaching them that stuff and their eyes roll back in their heads as they daydream about going out on their bikes.
What five big lessons do you want to teach your kids, to take them through their lives?
It’s been hard to narrow it down to five. There are so many things I want my boys to learn, in order to become the men I so hope they will be.
But here’s my list:
At the age of 2 and a half, Brodie discovered dinosaurs.
All of a sudden, his toy trains didn’t matter any more. His imagination was sparked by Triceratops and Spinosaurus, by T-Rex and Diplodocus.
We themed his birthday parties on them, we booked tickets to see shows about them, we visited attractions which had them.
They’ve taught him a lot. These prehistoric creatures have widened his vocabulary, improved his spelling, and sparked his imagination.
So when the lovely folks at Netmums invited us to review the Dino Tales game, promising it would be educational, I had no doubt.
But now that he’s 8, Brodie is fairly knowledgable about dinosaurs, so I wondered if there was anything new this game could teach him about his favourite creatures.
Last week my six-year-old…
(hold on, let me stress this. He’s SIX YEARS OLD!)
…said to me quite nonchalantly as I was doing the housework: “Mum, my willy tells me when a girl is hot.”
Is it just me or did someone in the sky turn out the lights?
Seriously. After many months of long Summer nights, desperately putting up the blackout blinds so my boys would go to bed before 10pm, all of a sudden the sun has disappeared.
By the time school’s out, the light is rapidly fading.
And I’m driving home from work in the pitch black, feeling a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder coming on.
Which is why the Be Safe Be Seen campaign is so important.
Road safety is something I’m trying to drum into my six-year-old – who runs everywhere at a million miles an hour.
At this time of year, it’s even more important that Blake knows to be careful when crossing the roads, when it’s likely motorists will struggle to see him.
I know what you’re going to say. You’ve only just started your holidays and now I’m banging on about school again!
Well, up here in Scotland we’re coming to the end of our fourth week of the Summer break. There’s only three weeks to go before the kids return to the classroom.
And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s rushing around at the last minute.
Believe me, it’s amazing how quickly the time goes and before you know it, the new academic year is about to begin.
Just like New Year, a new school year always feels like a fresh start.
But it’s always best to prepare your kids for the challenges of the year ahead. Here are my top tips:
Do you ever worry what’s facing your kids when they leave education?
Unless you happen to be Donald Trump or Lord Alan Sugar, of course you do.
There just aren’t enough jobs these days – and those that are available require people with experience, rather than qualifications and letters after their name.
Yesterday you went striding through the school doors without a backward glance. Your Dad and I hung around, peering into the classroom window to see you were OK. Not that you noticed – you’d gone straight to your friends and started playing.
This morning, you reluctantly held my hand and shrugged me off as I tried to grab a kiss or hug before you went into class.
You’re only 4 – and it seems 5 minutes since the nursery Christmas carol concert, when you cried on stage, reaching out desperately for me. I worried then that you were too much of a Mummy’s boy to settle at school.