The Secret of Game Night for Kids

My six-year-old daughter is a gamer. She’s had a Nintendo DS in her hands since she was three, and she’s been playing the Xbox 360 with me almost as long. She loves video games, and would play them every night (and every day) if she could, but we knew early on we’d need to set limits.

Since Stargirl was about four and a half, we’ve had Game Night twice a week. Game Night is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and lasts for one hour. She can play any game she wants — on the Xbox 360, on the DS, on my Mac, or even a good ol’board game (which she has occasionally chosen) — but she’s only got an hour.

Over the summer, we added a new wrinkle to Game Night: we take away minutes for bad behavior. Whining? Refusing to clean up your room? Yelling at your brother? Not putting your dirty laundry in the hamper? All these will cost her minutes on Game Night. She can earn these minutes back through good behavior.

Game Night’s worked out well. For one thing, it’s established clear limits on her gaming. She gets to play for two hours a week. She might get bonus game time on a Saturday night if the family decides to play the Wii, but that’s it. Game Night’s also gotten rid of the “when can I play my game?” whining that we had when she was four, and Game Night hadn’t been established yet. And it’s also helped with discipline.

Blink: Lightning Fast, Good for Kids

Blink is a rapid-fire card game in which two players attempt to match shape-filled game cards as quickly as possible based on design, number or color. It’s also become our stocking stuffer/birthday present of choice in the Newquist household. In the standard game, each player’s given their own deck with the same number of cards. … Read more

Nuclear Midnight is now 5 p.m.

I’d settled into a good routine. Get off work at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., go to the gym, and then get home by 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. in time for dinner with the family. Take care of the kids – giving them baths and cleaning up the house – and help herd them into bed … Read more

Operation Zzz

I look like death warmed over. There are deep bags under my eyes, my neck muscles are vise-tight despite a massage on Saturday, and my face has that hang-dog, puffy look that comes from one too many nights spent sleeping far too little. This is actually an improvement. Things were worse in December and January, … Read more

The Day Before the Night Before Christmas

It’s the 23rd of December, which is a date my four-year-old is having a hard time grasping. She’s mentally willing for Christmas to be here tomorrow and the whole “Christmas Eve” thing just isn’t making sense to her. But she can tolerate Christmas Eve … it’s the Day before the Eve that’s really getting to … Read more

Jazz (and Kids) at the Cosmic Cup

The Cosmic Cup had live jazz tonight (with my boss on drums, so I stopped by with the kids for coffee, hazelnut chocalate gelato, and good music. We didn’t stay long — StarGirl was tired after a big day at preschool — but the kids seemed to enjoy it, and it was a great break from … Read more

Life with NeutronLad: 11 Months

It’s been months since I last wrote about my son NeutronLad, and what an eventful couple of months it’s been! NeutronLad learned to crawl at around 6 months and started pulling himself up shortly there after. Now, at 11 months, he’s starting to “bridge”, moving from one item to another in a precursor to walking. … Read more

10 Tips for Soon-to-Be Geek Dads

Getting ready for a baby is one heck of an adventure. Here are a few of the lessons I learned when preparing for the arrival of my kids. I know I’ve got a few geek dad readers out there; feel free to add your own tips as comments. 1. Figure out your Budget If you … Read more

Radio Active #45: Crawling Babies, Podcasts Galore, A Deepness in the Sky

Baby NeutronLad learns to crawl and joins me as a guest host of the latest edition of Radio Active. In addition to news about our littlest geek, I’ve got news about a new “Game Day” column that’s running on Nuketown, a review of Gears of War, and audio feedback from Doug of the Geek Acres podcast. In … Read more