Momo’s big present this year was Minecraft for our Switch, and she took to it as well as pretty much any six-year-old when you sit them in front of a bottomless bin of lego. As is Boxing Day tradition, she was allowed to play it pretty much nonstop as a treat, and by the end of the day, boy, she had cooked up some truly interesting contraptions. As soon as she discovered she could hatch animals, that was it. I have fully enjoyed sitting in the same room as her as she peacefully builds and builds and builds, and the little songs she sings to herself while she does it… it’s so cute.

As someone who both makes and plays (a LOT of) video games, I’m trying to approach her falling deeply in love with Minecraft with a sense of empathy. I want her to enjoy her time playing video games! I feel like they’re a great way to explore and imagine and learn new things, and they’re good for learning systems and problem-solving and creativity… and, of course, that they’re vicious dopamine delivery systems basically by design, haha.

So the tack I’m taking is that I’m trying to talk to her about video game addiction in an age-appropriate way… not to condemn video games, but to talk about about how they can make you feel so happy that you forget to do other things. And part of that is feeling grumpy when you’re not playing video games, and fighting when it’s time to put them away, and she… seems to be getting it? We had no fights about it at meal times or bed time or parent-mandated please-play-with-your-actual-lego breaks, so I’m pretty hopeful??

I’m really glad she’s at the age now that I can lay down some more complex ideas, and she actually thinks about them and asks me questions about them and modifies her behavior. I’m a very talk-it-out kind of person, so before she was this verbal it always felt like a huge struggle to get her to understand, and it’s pretty good now. I like this part.