Posted on | August 4, 2009 | 12 Comments
My kids travel with their Nintendos
I’m not particularly proud of this fact, but that’s because I have a love-hate relationship with video games in general. I love the way they keep my children entertained – sometimes for hours at a time – but I can’t stand the way they keep my children occupied to the exclusion of everything else that’s going on around them.
That said, there is no doubt that in today’s world of over-booked flights, flight delays and other such traveling silliness, I have personally experienced how a good Nintendo game can be a parental life-saver. We were flying from Seattle to Puerto Vallarta via Phoenix. Our two-hour layover became four, then six hours. We boarded and de-planed twice. We shuffled on and off the plane through dinner time and the kid’s normal bed time. They were completely unfazed. CAM, at 10, had a new game for his Nintendo DS. BigB, at six was utterly fascinated watching his big brother play. We just lugged our baggage (carry-on only) on and off the plane and let them at it.
Managing video game use while traveling
The uneasy bargain that I have with my children with respect to their beloved Nintendos and my love of immersing them in new cultures and new places is that I try to enforce a “video games are for playing while we’re in transit” rule. There are subtle nuances to this rule: I’d prefer if they only used their Nintendos on the flights to and from our destination; they’d prefer if they could use them every time they sit in a plane, train or automobile. You can imagine the ensuing negotiations. But, even though CAM once exclaimed “Of all the moms in the world, why did I get stuck with you?” specifically because this particular rule, it does work most of the time.
I have been known to hide the Nintendos once we arrive at our destination. Ssh, don’t tell my kids. They always magically reappear when we’re about to board our return flight. And in the time in between, I pay for my choice by being soundly beaten in Scrabble and Set by CAM but also having many raucous games of Uno or Rat-A-Tat-Cat with both of the boys.
Managing video game accessories while traveling
The games are tiny, the power cords have an annoying habit of being left behind in our rented accommodation and the devices themselves are frequently rescued from pockets just in the nick of time – barely escaping the over-sized washing machines of laudromats all over Europe. (I have discovered that Nintendo games can survive the washer and the dryer and still function quite well).
We’ve lost way too many games while traveling. To me, this is one of those parental trade-offs which we make in the hope of teaching life lessons: if my children are responsible for their own games the benefit is that they will learn to look after their own games. The risk, of course, is losing games and the expense of replacing those games. Unless there’s really special circumstances, if CAM or BigB lose a game when we’re on the road, they chose whether or not they want to replace it out of their own savings or pocket-money. No discussion. So far, consternation and lamentations aside, that’s also worked out pretty well.
I find that game cases such as the CaseLogic Nintendo DS Game Case are a great tool to help your child keep track of his games, his DS and all the other DS paraphernalia while traveling.
What do you think?
Do you have a rant or rave about handheld video games for kids in general? Have you allowed your children to use them at home or while traveling? Do you perhaps allow them for traveling but not at home? And if so, how do you get your child to go along with that??
Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts, opinions and ideas.