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An Introduction to Minecraft for Parents
You hear your child talking about Minecraft all the time. And you have no idea what he means. What is the big deal anyway? Do you really need to know what Minecraft is and how it works? Well, any time that Microsoft spends $2.5 billion to acquire the rights to the game your child will probably be playing, it makes sense to pay attention. Here is what Minecraft is all about.
A video game from the Mojang gaming studio, Minecraft is what is called a sandbox game. That simply means that there are no real objectives or plots involved. Just like your toddlers play freely in a sandbox, your older children can pretty much make up their own rules in Minecraft. And it is all based on a building block format.
When the sun rises on a typical day in this virtual video game world, materials are dug up from the ground (you "mine" first, and then "craft" your creations in block form). Those blocks are then used to create just about any type of 3D object. Your child's imagination and creativity are uniquely developed in a way that makes sense to him.
Kids have created literally everything, from complex working computers to simple villages, animals and houses. And there are plenty of different habitats and terrains to explore.
Imagine LEGO blocks in digital form. That is probably the best description of Minecraft that there is. However, unlike the physical LEGO building blocks and the worlds you can create with them, Minecraft is populated by monsters that like to roam around at night, sometimes destroying your child's handiwork.
More than 50 million copies have been sold on PC, mobile and console platforms. Minecraft conventions for young and old alike have sprung up. A Minecraft Opera and movie deal are also in the works.
It pays to know what games your child is playing. The good news is that Minecraft has very little downside. It does not get your child as physically active as outdoor games, but it does spark your child's mental development and sense of individuality. Kids can create literally anything they dream up, and this drives home the point to your children that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.
The next time your child sits down for some Minecraft, ask them to explain it to you and get involved. There are plenty of adults that enjoyed the LEGO block building pastime when they were children, and now those same joys can be experienced with the Minecraft video game.
How to Make Chores Fun for Kids
Think back to when you were a child. Did you enjoy doing your chores? Probably not. And when you did, it was because your parents made them fun. You actually looked forward to cleaning up your room, putting away your toys and helping out with the laundry. Take the following steps to make chores fun for your kids, and it won't feel like pulling teeth the next time you have to clean up around the house.
Use a reward system your child is familiar with
Your kid gets stickers at school when he does well, why not at home? Give your children the same number of weekly chores each. Post a "Top Household Helper" board and reward your child with a sticker every time a chore is accomplished. Reward the best household helper at the end of the week with some appropriate incentive.
Throw a scavenger hunt
Instead of telling your child you need help cleaning the entire house, why not have a scavenger hunt? If books, newspapers, clothes and toys need to be picked up, put them on a scavenger list. The winner is the child that finds the most items and returns them to their proper place.
Have a contest
After breakfast, lunch or dinner, set a timer on 5 or 10 minutes. Tell your children that they have to clean up as quickly as possible before the time expires. This makes doing the dishes or cleaning off the table after a meal more like a game than a chore.
Take your child shopping
Buy an inexpensive bucket and customize it with your child's name. Then allow him to help you choose his own sponge, paper towel roll, dust rag and other cleaning items. This personalizes the experience of cleaning, and your child will enjoy his sense of ownership.
Offer an allowance ... in some cases
Many pediatricians and other child experts believe that payment in return for chores should only take place once your child is a teenager. But if that is the case, you can instill great workplace habits by rewarding your child's chore completion financially.
Use the clutter to hide rewards
You know that loose change in your pocket or purse at the end of the day? Hide it under toys, clothes, books and anything else that you need cleaned up and organized. You can also use snacks and stickers to incentivize performing household chores.