How to introduce games into the home

While too much screen time can be a bad thing, there are some games and technology that enhance children's lives.

May 05 2017

All games and apps have a tremendous ability to teach and keep children engaged. They have inbuilt rewards and have what we refer to as a well-balanced ‘fun-failure’ factor (i.e. just enough failure to keep it challenging and just enough fun to feel rewarded and keep the player returning to the game). When used well and within boundaries, games allow for the development of habits and skills that can be transferred into real time.

A recent example of a game that encourages a healthy long term habit off screen is the Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush. This connected toothbrush works via Bluetooth to connect to a mobile gaming app that encourages kids to brush their teeth alongside a virtual character. It’s a great example of how gaming can be weaved constructively into the home to foster habits that are often hard to build, such as brushing your teeth.

Child psychologist, academic and author, Collett Smart gives her tips for parents looking to introduce games into the home. 

Aspects to look for include games and apps that:


allow children to create something and encourage imagination


teach language skills


are interactive and require a child to make decisions


encourage healthy off screen habits


encourage healthy socialisation

Communication is key!

Lots of communication and talking about boundaries is the key to introducing games into the home. It’s all about parent-child relationships. My recommendation is the 3Cs: keep Current, keep Communicating and keep Checking.

Top Ten Tips for parents introducing games into the home:


Ensure technology is in public areas at home


Set time limits


Set content limits


Set age restrictions for apps and games


Know passwords


Play the games with your children and talk about the content


Teach children to look outward and think of others


Balance online with offline activities


Make use of logging software


Negotiate a technology contract