Tell Us Dammit: How Do You Game And Parent?

Hi fellow parents. I know you're out there. I need your help.

I want your advice: how the hell do you parent and play video games at the same time?

I now have two kids — one at three years old, the other just three months. Things are getting super tricky.

— You can't really play violent games when kids are awake. — You can't really play into the night, because kids wake up and you're already on zero sleep. — You can't really disappear into another room because um... children require supervision.

So yeah, it's been pretty difficult for the last two or three years, but the last three months in particular — with the arrival of baby #2, have been very difficult.

So, parents! What do you do to maintain your gaming habits?


    Still trying to figure this one out. My boy is 20 months, so he's into everything and loves grabbing at controllers, which means - regardless of content - gaming while he's up and around isn't an option, but he doesn't really have the attention span to attempt to get him to join in. Plus we're trying to keep screen time to a minimum. He's got plenty of years ahead of him to watch TV and the like.

    So that leaves waiting till he goes to bed, but he's not a great sleeper, so those sessions are pretty broken. And apart from that, we're in a one bedroom apartment with one TV. Fortunately my partner is pretty accommodating and we try and alternate game nights and TV nights.

    Long story short - I have a massive pile of shame and I imagine I'll get to it when he's 18 and has left home.

      Got an old ps3 controller?! I find handing that to my two year old when playing something keeps him pretty occupied and he feels he is joining in. I have to play things like the Lego Movie or Little big planet but im a kid at heart so its a great excuse!

        Yeah, the PS3 controller trick has worked a couple of times, but he's not made the connection between that and the screen, so he'll play with it a bit before going back to "Pay attention to me again!" mode, which is cool because I do enjoy hanging out with him.

        Once he's made a connection between the controller and the TV - that "this makes that go" logic - I think sitting down with a Lego game or LBP could be good. I've been grabbing anything that looks bright and colourful from PS+ too - Super Exploding Zoo or whatever it's called looks pretty fun.

          Yeah PS plus are good time wasting games generally - I just feel like when im playing them i could be trying to finish something in my pile of shame! lol

          My lad has put that together - yours is probably not far off at 20 months mate - he holds the controller upside down and does things then looks at the tv to see what it does - So when he is on my controller he kinda navigates around a bit but then presses ps button or whatever and gives it to me because he thinks hes broken it!

    Only got one but (1yo) and I already can't unless she's asleep or playing with her mum.

    Hats off to any out there who can do both.

    Although I 100% plan on having her sit on my lap with an unplugged controller one she decides she can sit still for longer than 10 seconds. But will only be with PG games... so Stardew Valley FTW

    Option #3 plus some kind of cage sounds like a winner to me.

    - On the bus
    - After their bed time
    - When they go to their own social events (birthday parties are awesome!)
    - Build up a library of games and skills that enable them to play alongside you. Mostly Nintendo. Which is great, until they want to play that first fricking world of Super Mario 3D World for, literally, the hundredth time. Games like Lego or super hero games (or Lego AND super hero games) become more appropriate too once they reach school age.

      Yes. It's amazing how much use we've gotten out of the Wii U now that the kids are growing up.

    I can't really answer this because I'm not a parent and don't plan to be, but I have an anecdote anyway.

    I had a job interview earlier this week and near the end of the interview the interviewer asked me if I had any hobbies. Reluctantly I mentioned gaming (I say reluctantly because I still don't think it's seen as a socially acceptable hobby for professional adults, which is total horseshit), which seemed to pique her interest and she engaged with me, asking follow up questions about what console I prefer, what games I'm currently playing, etc. At first I thought maybe this was a test to see how I speak when engaged on a personal interest (i.e.: breaking down my "interview" barrier) but instead we chatted for a couple of minutes about how she used to get a kick out of telling people that the Playstation belonged to her, not her husband, her love of Assassin's Creed and how she hasn't really played any since Black Flag because she had a child around that time.

    So I guess gaming and parenting is a bit of a struggle.

    Ahhhh Serrels - Leading the good fight!

    I have a few sneaky tricks - Remote play is a good one.

    Got a 1 year old and 2 year old so i feel your pain! And when they are asleep the Mrs warrants that its time to spend watching MKR on the couch... not time for gaming... I get away with a good session some nights but I have to keep it to things i can be interrupted in!!!!

    Remote play has been awesome at times and last night i was able to play on my Surface pro in the lounge room FINALLY with a DS4 to control with! Farcry Primal was great for it - UFC 2 not so much... Anything where you need to make quick successions of button presses is not going to be a fun time on remote play!

    I have a few shameful moments to admit - I have often had them in their high chairs and set up the G29 on the dining table and had a few races on project cars - Only problem is it feels like the kids are in the back because you have to keep turning around!!!
    My 1 year old was taking some time to settle sometimes recently so i had to try leave him for a few more minutes here and there - A quick game of Black ops 3 online with my headphones on took away all the stress and by the time one game was over he was asleep - i have done this on a few occasions and it doesnt ALWAYS work!

    Too bad i cant post images - i have a great pic of my holding my first son wiht playstation controller in hand having a good thrash!!! When they are little its not so bad but when they can tell whats going on thats when it gets hard!!!

    When my first was a newborn i used to stay up at night to let the Mrs sleep some and only bring him to her if he wouldnt settle and needed a feed - so sitting up with battlefield 4 on he would always wake up at the sound of gunfire no matter how quiet it was!!! But i could play ANYTHING else that was real loud!!! Made me think he was a soldier in a past life!

    When my second child was born I had to take our eldest home (he was only 15 months at the time) while the Mrs stayed in hospital with the newborn for the first night as he was early. I felt so horrible but my lad went to sleep for me and the Mrs called and said she was going to sleep - I had Shadow of Mordor that i was waiting for a good time to start it so.... I sat up all night playing that while my son slept like a baby!!! Next night was the same and somehow some way I platinumed that game in a month - There's something about just finding the right moments and not being upset when you cant continue to play!!!

    I find being interrupted was something that used to annoy me but now not so much. I think the mentality is big here - Presume you are not going to have any time EVER!!! That way when you find time you simply enjoy it!

    Have an 8 and 5 year old. After they go to bed it's time with the wife until she goes to bed at 11ish then I can squeeze an hour or two in depending how wrecked I'm willing to tolerate being at 8 the next morning. Unless there's something I really want to play and I'm allowed to occasionally spend an evening playing.

    Having Mondays off helps when it's not school holidays too.

      I I used to do this but Mrs has been getting so clingy about spending time with me she wants me to come to bed with her now as well!!!

      I do get the nights off when i tell her something like UFC2 came out - but that one night off turns into me trying to have every night for the next two weeks and she becomes rather unhappy with me ;)

        Yes and yes. I get maybe 2 hours, 3 nights a week but I'm pretty content with that.

        She knows next week is off limits though. Dark Souls takes priority :P

        Last edited 07/04/16 11:42 am

          Holy fuck - I stupidly got dark souls 2 when my first was pretty young - Completely forgot you cant pause it!!!

          I dont know how i could wrap my mrs head around what that means!! She knows when im online i have limited movement and capability to understand her but in that she also knows the UFC fight or black ops dm will be over within a few minutes!!!

          I would love to give dark souls 3 a good going - maybe well sit down and have a good talk about it ;)

            Suspend is your friend as a parent ;)

              You mean just go into rest mode and suspend the game?

              I get that i could do that but i feel like i might have to do that multiple times in an hour sometimes...

              I'm so keen to get into Dark Souls 3 but so apprehensive as i barely got anywhere in Dark Souls 2 and ended up trading it after not finding the time!

                Yes it works wonders in Bloodborne, all you really have to do is hit that ps button and run off to tend to whatever emergency is occurring. Sometimes I haven't been able to return till the following night and it's been all good!

                  Oh you mean not even go into Rest mode just suspend by going home. Some games do work some dont - as in i use this to pause cut scenes for certain games when then house gets loud with crying and screaming lol. Every time i play a new game i try it and see if the cut scene plays in the background or not - most dont but some still do which annoys the shit out of me because its usually the ones that do still play dont let you pause!!!

                  If it helps, if you have Netflix/stan, you hit the ps button and launch Netflix or the like, it will suspend every game (that I have tried so far, including the Division), don't have to do anything in Netflix, just hit launch

      Oh god... I understand the temptation but those kind of sleeping hours are going to take a toll! How long do you think you can do it?

        12 years and counting so far.
        Probably why I had a stroke last year...

    I do a lot of handheld gaming while I commute to work and on my lunch break. Helps to scratch that itch. At home, I game at night when the little one is sleeping, Vita remote play helps there too as it is quieter and frees up the TV for the wife to relax.

    I'm probably playing a few more child friendly titles (like the new MLB game or racing games) too which helps if the kid is occupying herself in the same room.

    I do have a few rules though, make sure the house is tidy and family relationships come first.

    Late night gaming is fine with headphones, or quietly if the kids room is far enough away from the gaming setup. I've adopted mobile gaming as my mainstay to address point 3, though I try to maintain enough focus to keep on parenting reasonably.

    I maintain my gaming by having only the furry, four legged variety of children. They're happy so long as I feed them on time, walk/run the ones that bark, and rub their bellies and/or heads during loading screens.

    You game AND parent!

    My daughters are 8 and 6. With the 8 year old I play Warriors Orochi 3, EDF4 and Rayman. With my 6 year old I play Lego Jurassic and occasionally help her out with New Super Mario 2 on her 3DS.

    Bedtime is 7.30-8pm. Then its my time.

    Games are important to you, presumably your kids are too, so combine them. Game time is always co-operative, competitive games do not work.

    On a side note, nothing prouder as a dad than running into a horde of monster ants and all of a sudden having the dropship crash down around you, and looking over to see your girl sitting back with a sniper rifle. Proud.

      My kids aren't really into gaming. They prefer to play outside and go fishing and do crafts and *breaks down crying* I've failed.

    At first I just stopped playing games altogether. I didn't really want a toddler wandering in while I'm playing Dead Space. Now that my oldest son is 6 we usually play Mario Kart together with a decoy controller for the 2 yr old. I play PS4 games at night for maybe an hour if I'm super lucky. The kids did enjoy helping out with puzzles in The Witness and Kings Quest though. So, kid friendly games I try to include them but everything else is either off-limits or pushed into a horrible time-slot around midnight.

    My little girl in 6 now and she's at the age where I can actually play real games with her like Mario and Kirby games. I still can't play super violent games while she's around though so I usually get those in at night while she's asleep. She's been a pretty good sleeper actually, never slept very much during the day but almost always did a solid 12 hours at night.

    As for other games I squeeze them in when I can, sometimes when my wife takes her out to the shops or something I'll take the opportunity to jump on. Sometimes she's happy to sit there and watch me play, depending on the game.

    Last edited 07/04/16 11:57 am

    Well I either switched to playing games that were more suitable to them (no gore, no swearing) or I played when they were asleep, doing something else.

    Although now that they're 3 and 5, they game on the Wii U and I go play on the ps4/PC in the office.

    I also play when they're in bed for a couple of hours at night. (wife does the same)
    or on weekends, when kids are doing screen time, we do screen time as well.

    I have a 5 yr old but also have a second lounge where all my gaming gear is located she nods off about 7:30 so if I want I can game then my wife works part time so she is fine if I duck of and game most of the chores have been done by her earlier in the day (another plus of her working part time) but I only do it when I get a new game most of the time I can wait until the weekend nights to game.
    But yea id call anyone how doesn't want kids because it will affect there gaming crazy.

    3 and 1 year olds here.

    You need to accustom them to sleeping with noise. My wife and I are always watching TV or playing a game in our main living room. That room adjoins both the kids rooms (our house is pretty small).

    Before bed time, yeah it's not cool to play anything too violent. We're pretty relaxed parents so anything with cartoonish violence is fine. Star Wars movies (except Ep3) and Street Fighter V are about the most violent things the kids are allowed to watch.

    I regularly get requests from the 3yo to play games with him: Rayman, Mario, Grow Home, Lego Star Wars, random iPad games, etc. I'm happy to play along with him, but left to his choice, we'd never stop. So some moderation is required.

    After bed time (about 8 or 8:30 for the 3yo) it's either TV or game time, up til about 11pm for me and earlier for the wife. That's when I can break out Bloodborne / Dark Souls or whatever else is

      I should also have mentioned some mobile gaming. Usually Hearthstone on the daily commutes ;)

    play Littlebigplanet with your kids for a the mean time the game you REALLY want to play go down in price. they will be at school and going on play dates in no time - then you can get stuck into Dark souls 3

    I have a 2 and a half yr old and another due in November... At this point all I can say is I stay up late.... But those first 3-6 months Mark is talking about I think I will be the same.... it will be very little gaming

    at my sneakiest i used to go to bed with the wife as she requested, will myself to stay awake until i knew she was asleep, then i would get up and go play games for a few hours. now, we put our 3.5 year old daughter to bed at 7, do some minor tidying chores, watch some tv together till about 9 - 9:30, then i jump on with mates from work for a few hours. have to be careful though, when i have my headset on both ears sometimes i miss the daughter crying in the room next to me, so i get an agitated wife opening the office door asking my if i heard that. so now i try to one ear my headset so i can chat with mates but still keep an ear out.
    ive only just started introducing some games to my daughter on WiiU using some dora and diego wii games, she loves them, its so hard to not take over though. other than that, i bought some click adventure games on steam like Deponia, and also a few lego games that my wife and i can play together and she actually enjoys it.

    I don't have kids.


    Free Time = Game Time

    Free Time - Work - Girlfriend = No Time For Game Time

    My girlfriend and I are against babysitters, so when we do eventually have children, I'm probably going to game only when I'm taking a shit.

    Unless Nintendo makes the 3DS waterproof, then gaming time will also be shower time.

    Not very often, but handhelds & Remote Play until it's his bedtime.

    I have a 2 year old and another on the way. It goes like this:

    7am - 9am get up and get to work
    9am - 5.30pm work
    6.30pm - 9.30pm
    9.30pm - 11pm chill with wife
    11pm - 1pm game on

    sleep it off on the weekend

    I don't game anywhere near as much as I used to so I choose carefully what I play.
    Quality and all that.

    For me? I used to live for nap time. I kept my son napping until he was 5 so I could get an hr of gaming after lunch.

    I also used to play violent games on front of them. Tlou and street fighter mainly. Especially with tlou there were certain parts I wouldn't play because they were too disturbing. I thought I was being mature and progressive but in hindsight, it was a mistake. We now only let them see age appropriate stuff and it's a lot better. I play some witcher 3 every now and then and if the kids are up I only play the treasure hunt stuff. No WAY am I showing them that story! The red baron quest was just way too real!

    This article has arrived at the perfect time. At the start of the year my partner gave birth to our very premature daughter. So I've been spending all my time going to work, then hospital at night to spend some amazing time with her to some very late gaming.

    As of this point of time my daughter has been smashing every hurdle thrown at her and it looks like she is going to be coming home soon.

    So I've been taking every note/tactic that has been posted in the comments and burning it to my memory.

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