With lockdown measures slowly deescalating in the UK, it’s a good time to reflect back on what was undoubtedly one of the strangest, and most challenging times parents have gone through in many of their lifetimes. For the last few months, COVID-19 has put the world at a standstill, flipping both our professional and home lives upside down…and in lots of cases, merging them into one!
In an attempt to better understand how the pandemic has affected dads’ relationships with their children and their overall role as a parent, retailer Menkind published the results of a recent UK-wide study on the many challenges and triumphs dads across the country experienced during the almost 3-month shutdown.
Of the handful of activities that brought dads and their kids together, gaming was highlighted as one of the most powerful, and newly converted gamer dads (or old gamers for that matter), reaped all the benefits of spending quality time with their kids.
The poll concluded that almost 60% of dads were spending more time with their kids than before, with a third of them saying their relationship with their kids improved since the government-imposed lockdown.
From simple enjoyment to learning life’s important lessons, here are the top three ways gaming has brought together dads and their kids during lockdown.
Gaming helped dads bond with their kids
Lockdown or not, one of the biggest hurdles dads face is finding ways to connect with their children. With everyone suddenly forced to be in the home around-the-clock, dads were given a new chance to reignite relationships with their kids that may have fizzled or were not strong to begin with.
This didn’t come without its challenges, though. Keeping the kids engaged and getting them to spend less time on their phones and tablets and more time with the family were both listed as a top challenge of lockdown by a fourth of dads in Menkind’s study. The astounding popularity of social media apps coupled with the rebellious attitude of growing adolescents doesn’t help the cause, typically resulting in kids becoming reclusive and self-isolating, making it harder for parents to connect.
Gaming was revealed among the top lockdown activities, with close to a quarter of dads listing “Playing video games” among the top family activities to overcome lockdown challenges. With over a fifth of dads admitting they shared their kids’ passion for video games, this activity has proved to be a bridge between both sides, opening up a road for future building.
So if you’re a dad out there looking for some family-friendly video games that are enjoyable for both you and your kids, keep your eye out for the release of Marvel’s Avengers video game, set to drop 4 September, 2020. If you’re looking for something more cutting-edge, check out the 17 July release of Ironman VR, where players can immerse themselves in Tony Stark’s world by taking control of his famous jumpsuit.
Dads and kids are finding middle-ground
The more time dads spend taking part in activities that their children enjoy, the more opportunities they have to connect with their children on a deeper level.
Gaming has given both dads and their children a way to break down barriers, forget what’s going on around them, and enjoy the activity at hand. This can also allow kids to feel less guarded.
Playing video games and online games also provides dads the opportunity to teach their kids important life lessons through a non-conventional medium. Gaming takes cooperation, strategy and teamwork, something that’s been stripped of children now that they are out of classrooms.
Dads are experiencing the unexpected
We’re sure more than a couple (thousand) dads out there hit the panic button as soon as they heard kids would no longer be returning to school for the unforeseeable future. Suddenly the notion of working from home while home-schooling, meal-prepping, tidying up, playing, disciplining and just surviving rushed over fathers figures like a tidal wave with no warning.
And yes, it’s safe to say that the tidal wave hasn’t been the easiest to ride. But there have been some high points.
Dads across the country are experiencing parts of parenthood they never have before…and enjoying it! Almost half of dads surveyed voted “beating the kids at video games” as the top unexpected joy of isolation and want to play more video games with their kids after lockdown.
Judging by the dads we know, we’re willing to bet that “beating the kids at video games” won’t be a joy only experienced in lockdown. There will be more in-house virtual battles in a lot of families’ futures.