Mario Bros has provided great bonding moments with T and is teaching him about patience and perseverance.
During these virtual schooling and work from home days, it’s common for me to be on a work call and for T to walk into the office unannounced.
He’d walk past behind my chair, his little head seen on my video, to take the Nintendo Switch plugged next to my desk and then plop himself on the bed behind me and start to play while I continue to chair my meeting.
I love these moments. I find them cute and his presence mostly brings calm comfort.
Unless he loses a game or encounters a particularly challenging portion of the game, that is, and then he screams with frustration.
I’ll then have to explain with a laugh to my understanding colleagues what’s happening and to reassure them that a child is not being murdered in our home.
The Switch was a gift we got for T for Christmas and I’m sticking with that story – even though I’ve been playing it just as much, if not more, as him.
I’ve enjoyed gaming my entire life and have a particular fondness for the family friendly, cleverly-designed and super fun Mario games.
When we first adopted T, I always taught how fun it would be to share the things I loved growing up with him, including video games.
It turns out we have quite the gamer in development.
At just age 6, I am amazed at how quickly he is figuring out the games and the complex controls; remember when controllers only had two buttons and not like 2 million buttons?
He loves watching gamer videos on YouTube and is undoubtedly picking up lots of tips and tricks from them.
We are currently playing Super Mario Odyssey. What I love about this game is that there is a main story you have to complete but there are also hundreds of side challenges that you complete to earn Power Moons.
T loves exploring the vast digital worlds and searching for Power Moons. I am so impressed at how quickly he finds them.
I let him play along with the specific game that I started. With T’s capable help, the two of us have found close to 500 of the 999 possible moons in the game.
This represents two months of teamwork for us, finding one Power Moon at a time – see sample walkthrough video below.
I just love the proud look on his face every time he finds one. Sometimes, he’d barge into the office while I’m on a call to tell me he’s found one.
Sometimes, we play by ourselves. But the best times are when we’re sitting next to each other, shoulders touching, and watching the other play.
T is still not very good at sharing, so often times he hogs the game.
But what I love is when he gets stuck, he is learning more to ask me for help to push through a roadblock. I think that is a wonderful new skill he learned.
T still has hilarious meltdowns when he loses or encounters a hard moment. But I keep reminding him – as video games are so great at teaching – that failure is not final. Just try again until you get it right.
He still hates losing but I do see that he’s bouncing back from those moments faster and sometimes even with a laugh or a shrug.
We do try to be mindful of his screen time consumption, as he is getting way more screen time than ever – with virtual schooling and the hubby and I generally tied up with work.
So the Switch has also provided us with a great tool to offer to T as an incentive to sit through his five daily school lessons, to participate in class and to complete his work.
If he does what we ask, he gets the Switch at the end of school. If not, tough luck.
It’s been a good incentive to get him to practice his learning on weekends too. Our goal is to do 20-30 minutes each of reading, writing and math practice during the weekend.
We sandwich these learning practices after breakfast and before the Switch, while he’s still fresh and not crabby.
This past weekend was the best one yet. He did a great job with his reading exercises, did nice writing (he’s come a long way since September) and he whizzed through the math exercise I created in record time.
So thank you Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess for helping give us some much needed escape and family time found during these challenging pandemic days!