Even as I write this, please know, I’d rather be reading my slightly trashy Scottish romance novel. But instead, I’ll exchange a chapter of Outlander for the iPad and the chance to explain how Minecraft, the video game popular nationwide with children ages 7 to 47, saved my family’s weekends.
My 3-year-old daughter, Ellie, and I get lots of quality time. As a stay at home mom, I spend the week arranging outings, thinking of crafts and suggesting she play with her many games and toys. I also, at times, find myself counting the minutes until 4:30 p.m. when I feel minimally less guilty about turning on the TV and tuning in the entertainer of the moment — George, Mickey, Huckle, or Dora.
Weekends are much of the same. My husband is home and we take hikes, go out to lunch, and play in the yard. But for my 3-year-old, and I’m assuming for most preschoolers, there’s a certain need for constant entertainment, leaving little me time.
Having a couple hours to turn off your brain and engage in something mindless is crucial to recharge. I enjoy reading on the couch. My husband enjoys computer games. Most recently, Minecraft. (Although, for the record, he played it long before T-shirts starting showing up in Target).
So while we both have relatively simple ways of escape, it still often falls to me to fill in our daughter’s entertainment gaps. Not for my husband’s lack of trying, but largely because of our daughter’s “mommy-only” syndrome.
Enter Minecraft. I don’t remember how exactly it happened or why it worked, but one trying Saturday when I was exhausted and close to losing it, John asked Ellie if she “wanted to watch Daddy build his house.”
And so it began. On the weekends, sometimes for 10 minutes, other times for an hour, father and daughter herd cattle, plant wheat and fight zombies in the Minecraft world. They even build a “bed” for Ellie in her own Minecraft room that also houses armor stored in a “toy chest.”
Am I thrilled with the added screen time? No. Am I delighted beyond measure that father and daughter have found a quiet activity both can enjoy while I bank some quality couch time? You bet. In fact, this Minecraft bond has helped loosen Ellie’s clinginess to me. And for that, even I’d slay zombies.