Playing online games with your girls! the benefits of mother-daughter gaming
Mothers start out spending tons of time with their daughters. First, there's a whole lot of diaper changing (OK, so the girlie can't remember those days). But moms spend oodles of time doing what little girls like: reading Junie B. Jones books, playing pretend at tea parties and a whole lot of Barbie dress-up! Then there are birthday parties, play-date wrangling,and all those soccer/dance/piano lessons filling up the pre-teen girl years.
Too soon, that time with mom dwindles into a few stolen moments between afterschool events, homework and- "bye-mom, going to Jane's house!" (door slams).
Re-capture a little mother/daughter bonding by noticing things a young girl likes and make it a point to join her. Schedule a Saturday just-us-girls date and incorporate the things she enjoys into games you can both have fun playing.
Did you know playing online games with your daughter is actually GOOD for her? A study done at Brigham Young University's School of Family Life showed that girls (but not boys) increased feelings of being connected to the family when playing with their moms.
1. Family bonding
The study also showed that girls who played video games with their parents "were more connected to their families and had better mental health than those who played on their own or with friends."
Spending any time together is going to improve your relationship, but spending time doing the things your daughter enjoys will show her you respect her passions. Girls don't usually gravitate to competitive games, but fashion show games and pet parades are high on their fun list.
2. Build social (network) skills
Younger girls who aren't allowed to use Facebook or other social games yet can benefit a lot from seeing how you as a mom interact on social networks or play social games. Let her join you when a hot game of Words with Friends starts and stick around and mentor her when she is communicating via email or playing online games when a friend is over. (I love eavesdropping on my daughter and her friends when they play these games!)
3. And even some health benefits
Studies have shown that video games boost brainpower, increase vision skills. While the CDC says research on the health benefits of exergaming, like Wii games, is inconclusive, the American Heart Association has given them a stamp of approval. Other active online games, specifically Dance Central and Kinect Sports Boxing, have been shown to increase energy expenditure in kids and an effective way to increase physical activity.
4. Problem solving and strategic thinking development
"While there are many games that place a premium on strategy, most set an overall goal and give the gamer numerous ways in which he or she can achieve that goal. Players also get instant feedback on their decisions and quickly learn their own strengths and weaknesses," explains Monica Vila, TheOnlineMom.com.
5. Life modeling
"One of the reasons games like Shopaholic and Sara's Cooking Class are so popular is that they let girls act out and explore their future lives...in a safe environment, while still being a kid," Dieneke Kuijpers from GirlsGoGames.com says.
Girls turn into teenagers soon enough. And that teen zombie brain takes over. Sit down today and play a few online games with your daughter, she might thank you!
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