The Pokemon Go Parenting

pokemongoYep, you read that right! Pokemon Go was the right choice for me! Now, before I get to the good stuff, let’s just clarify. Yes, I am aware of all the possible security issues, the camera & data tracking, etc. Yet, I still decided to downloaded Pokemon Go at the request of my kids. I didn’t want to at first, but they are persistent little buggers. I thought this would be one more video-type game that would annoy the snot out of me until I deleted it. Instead, something much more profound happened. The kids and I have are having the best time of our lives! We drive around the neighborhood collecting Poke Balls. We take turns catching pokemon. We are learning to battle at the gyms. And we are doing this all together. But more importantly, we are reconnecting. You probably already know the following. But it was a great reminder for me, so I am sure it will serve as a great reminder for other moms.

Parenting lessons from Pokemon Go:

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!

We know this to be true in our business life. But what about our family life? My dream for this summer was that we would travel, play, laugh, and have the best summer. My reality has been lots of extra cleaning and laundry, and arguments. Oh, the arguments! But when they are working together to build their pokemon collection, they are forced to use teamwork. Something magical happens when a team of people are working together towards a common goal! My kids are interacting nicely together, versus the daily fights. *Sigh* I love the peace!!!

We need to have FUN!

Of course, it has always been our plan to be a fun family. We love to have fun! But somehow in the mix of the daily parenting woes and routines, we were lacking in that arena. Fun comes naturally for kids. It seems to be what they live for. As we grow older, we replace play with responsibility, stress and worry. Vacations and weekends are reserved for family fun. However, our kids need to play and have fun. These moments provide opportunity to bond, to create memories, to role play life experiences, to learn valuable life-skills. I learn so much about what I have been doing recently around the house by how my children play pretend. Playing house-  Is Mom always working or irritable? Are they showing each other patience or barking orders? Chances are, that may have been my attitude for the week. So, remember to add some fun to your family time!

Celebrate, Don’t Compete

Healthy competition is good. However, with tons of kids it is very easy for EVERYTHING to become a competition. This leads to more frustration, more anger, more hurt feelings, more fights. By only using one account, when one of us catches a pokemon, we all win! (Sure, the 4-year old uses up more Poke Balls, but when he catches one, you would think he caught a Legendary!)  We are cheering each other on, genuinely excited when the other catches a “good one.”

Sometimes We Need to Reconnect

I try to give individual attention to each kid, finding things we have in common or being interested in what they are interested in. But for whatever reason, I have always had a short patience for video games. My husband enjoys them, our friends and family enjoy them, the kids enjoy them. Me? Most of the time, it annoys me when they are playing. I found with our oldest son that I was not very patient with him or interested when he would start talking nonstop about his games. I might space out. Or tune him out. Or have that annoyed mom look on my face. Or flat out tell him it’s just a game, let’s talk about something more important. **THIS IS WHERE I MISSED IT** It was important to his 9-year old self. And I belittled something he was excited about. When I saw his eyes light up as I said we would all do this together, it clicked! We were becoming disconnected. The hubby laughed at me one night as I laid in bed researching how to play, what different items were, what different pokemon did, etc. Sure, it looked like I had fallen into the game world. In reality, I was finding ways to talk with my son. The next day, I was able to talk with him on his level about something he found exciting. We had reconnected!

Here is the most important takeaway: those “meaningless” conversations lead to deeper conversations. Your kids want to talk with you. They want to share their hearts with you. But when they feel they can’t share small details with you, they will hesitate to share the important heart-issues with you.

It’s the little things that matter!