How Playing Video Games with Your Children Can Help Them Develop Their Organization Skills
Parents can get pretty creative when it comes to finding strategies to help their kids stay organized. They spend loads of money on storage containers, crates, and shelves in hopes of getting their children to put stuff away. Instead of putting any of those organizers to use, children often have binders and backpacks stuffed full of old papers (and sometimes rotting food). But what would happen if they had the opportunity to experience some fun, guided practice they could use to strengthen their organizational skills? The best way to do so would be to play video games with them. No, your child did not write this – and we promise it works!
One of the major misconceptions about children’s video games is that they are a solitary activity, with children isolated in their bedrooms, wasting hours doing nothing productive. However, current data indicate that more than 65% of video-game play is social in nature – and in the COVID-19 environment, the percentage is even higher! Even better, kids often want to play these video games with other people, including their family members. Playing a multiplayer video game with your children requires a great deal of cooperation and can offer excellent opportunities for you to practice organization with them. The skill of organization is necessary in many of the current popular video games.
You may be wondering how this is supposed to work if you have no clue how to play the game. However, this can be great for many reasons. First, it allows your child to demonstrate how to play and be the “expert” who needs to teach you the game. Also, while they may be far more skilled at the game than you are, you will be able to ask questions that focus on organizational aspects of the game such as why you need specific supplies to succeed or how you find what you need to progress in the game. You could also ask if their lack of organization slowed them down and help them identify how they could be faster next time with a little organization. If you’d like some help with this, you can also visit our site at Outschool.com where we use games to teach these executive functioning skills.
To help your children learn about organization through video games, point out the times during game play when you need to keep track of your in-game items (armor, weapons, potions, etc.) or sort through your inventory while trying to find something specific. Adding comments about how they may have used organization while you play will help them identify that they are in fact using organizational skills.
After the game, you could even make a few extra comments about how they could use this skill in the real world, such as for school. Playing these types of games with disorganized children can be particularly helpful because it provides this opportunity to discuss organizational skills outside of the game. Talking them through when or how organization can be helpful can help them to build a better understanding. Games that require organization might provide children who have difficulty finding things in their room or backpack or never seem to know where anything is with some basic strategies on how to approach these tasks. For example, games such as Star Wars :Uprising (where players need to remember where to go back in the game to find the materials they need) require organizational skills and can provide good practice for this skill.
Once you have worked together on organization skills as a team on a video game, you may also be able to to help your children improve their organizational skills outside of the game. Here are a few ideas for taking your game-based teamwork to help with real-world organizational tasks:
Use the terminology of the game (quests, experience points, levels, characters) to discuss improvements and changes your children could make to improve their skills outside of video games.
Rather than simply organizing for children, take the same approach you did in the game: ask questions, work together, and set goals related to organization that will help them succeed at home and school.
Use your children’s enjoyment of video games to generate a discussion about how important it is to know where things can be found in video games – and in their rooms or backpacks.