Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels
The lazy days of summer have me feeling nostalgic. Back in the day I used to do things like play Wiffleball, play basketball or listen to music with my friends. Now that I’m a dad, I’m feeling the pull to share some of these same things with my kids. And it seems I’m not alone – parents are yearning for throwbacks to entertainment from their childhood…and the desire to share those experiences with their kids.
Nostalgia is a trend that’s spanning all sides of the entertainment industry – not just in the movie and TV reboots that have been popping up. Classic industries like board games and vinyl records have seen sales increases over the past few years. And even the video game industry is taking a look at ways to create new products that allow for families to connect together.
Tommy Tallarico has seen this growing desire in the video game industry for ways to sit down as a family – and he says it’s not going away. “Think about the best video game moments you ever had. I guarantee it was when you were playing with other friends. Those are some of my favorite memories, getting a huge group of friends together to play games. People aren’t playing video games together anymore,” he says. “We want to bring people back to the roots of gaming, friends and family playing together side-by-side and it is why we’re launching the Intellivision Amico next year.”
We as parents are constantly searching for ways to connect with our kids and find activities that family members of all ages can enjoy. However, it’s easy to say “turn of the TV and spend time together” but if that time isn’t enjoyable, the “fun” activity can breakdown fast.
Avoiding Resentment and Frustration
Armin Brott of MrDad.com thinks the key is grabbing their attention quickly. “If you don’t engage your kids in a hurry, that memorable, happy, fun-filled hour you dreamed of will quickly turn to resentment and frustration,” he says. “And if that happens, it’ll be even harder to rally the troops again next week.”
So where’s the sweet spot for parents to engage with their kids? Here’s some of Armin’s tips on finding that middle ground:
- Break out the good stuff. The fastest way to get your children’s eyes to roll back in their head is to say something like, “When I was your age, we used to…” But what if you can show that that all those things you used to do—many of which didn’t involve an app or a mobile device—are actually pretty cool?
- Challenge them. Beat me at Battleships (or build a higher Lego or K’nex tower, a longer Hot Wheels jump, high score on mini Tetris or Pacman, etc.) and I’ll play the game of your choice—without complaining—for an hour.
- Let them pick. They may not be interested in old fashioned things like puzzles (yawwwwn) of the Eiffel Tower. But what if you promise to make a puzzle out of their favorite picture?
- Ignore them. Mom and dad (or one solo adult) sit down and, paying no attention to the kids, start playing with something like Life-Brite, Colorforms, Slinky, or even My Little Pony. For a child to watch an adult having fun and not join in is a violation of the laws of physics (and childhood).
What activity from your childhood would you like to share with your kids?