Video games can be a great source of entertainment for everyone in the family, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines. Choosing the right console is important, as is picking games that are right for the whole family. If your children want to play by themselves, monitor their usage and be sure the games are age-appropriate.

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Best games for family play

If you’re struggling to find fun things to do at home with your family during the pandemic, video games can be a great option. However, choosing games for your family can be tricky, because you’ll need to find something that’s appropriate for different ages and ability levels. As you look for options, choose games that offer multiplayer settings. Avoid violent games, and opt instead for lighthearted puzzles or journey games that encourage teamwork.

Choosing a console

There are plenty of video game consoles out there, but not all are appropriate for families to play together. Microsoft and Sony offer consoles that can be connected to TVs for family play, and their range of games is vast.

If your family prefers online games, you may need a tablet or laptop. Before purchasing a new device, read reviews to learn all that you can. Once you’ve selected a model, look online to see if you can find discounts.

As you pick out a console, you’ll also want to make sure you have an internet connection that can handle online multiplayer gaming. Opt for a fiber optic connection that will offer minimal lag and buffering to make gaming smoother when playing online. You’ll also be able to download games much more quickly with a fast connection.

Safety settings for kids

While there are plenty of games available for any age of player, you’ll still want to manage the safety settings on your console. Many game consoles will have parental controls that have customizable family settings that control screen time and purchase limits. There are even content filters you can use to block inappropriate games for kids, such as overly violent games.

As you get familiar with different video game options, you’ll also want to learn about game ratings. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) sets video game and app ratings to determine whether games are appropriate for everyone, for teens, or only for mature audiences over the age of 17. Get familiar with each rating and determine what’s right for your kids.

Dealing with heavy usage

It’s easy to get sucked into an exciting game, but it can be detrimental if video games dominate your child’s life. There are plenty of ways to do this, whether it’s setting time limits on each gaming session, or requiring that for every 30 minutes of video games, your kid has to do 30 minutes of physical activity. This will help prevent your children from becoming too reliant on video games for entertainment, and will encourage physical health as well.

Time limits for video games may vary between your children, depending on their personality type. Video games for children with ADHD can be very alluring, and often it’s those children who become most addicted to game play. Social skills for kids with ADHD can be difficult, so it’s especially important to set limits on video games so they can practice socializing.

One of the most important aspects of limiting game play is your vigilance in monitoring. Try to be at home when they are playing games so you can help enforce time limits, and be firm about following those limits. Video games should be seen as a treat—not a right—for your children.

Video gaming is a great option for families who are isolating at home together, and the right game can offer hours of entertainment and bonding time. Be sure to pick a console that can be played on your TV and that offers plenty of video game options. Great games are ones that require teamwork, whether it’s solving a puzzle or going on a journey through make-believe lands. If your kids are playing on their own, be sure to set parental controls and monitor their usage.

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