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Nintendo parenting: The family that games together stays together

I'm the senior site editor at SheKnows.com.

My kids basically only hang out with me because I game with them

I've been a gamer since I was about 12 years old, and now that I have my own kids who are this age, I realize one thing we can always agree on: Video games rule.

Parenting kids of various ages is hard. My youngest is 10 and my oldest is 18, and finding something we can all do together as a family that doesn't cost a gazillion dollars (vacations) or doesn't end up with an argument (which movie to watch) can be tricky. I want that family bonding time, but I also don't want my kids to resent family bonding time, which is why I love video games. I love Wii games in particular because, even though we own other gaming systems, the only brand I can count on to have content that isn't highly sexualized and doesn't contain extreme violence is Nintendo. I grew up with Mario and Yoshi, and I'm happy my kids are doing the same.

The weather has been really awful this winter where I live, with a lot of weekends spent trapped inside with nothing to do except play games together, and one of the latest we have is Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. This game is absolutely gorgeous and looks like it was made with clay. The gameplay involves moving Kirby through rainbows the player creates themselves by using their finger or the stylus, and one of the best parts of the game is that you can add up to three additional players — perfect for families. The game is bright and happy and candy-colored fun with a lot of charm and adorable characters. We have all been loving this one.

We also love all of the Super Smash Brothers games, and battling it out with my kids and seeing who can beat each other is one of the best ways I know to bond with them. Gaming with my kids also offers them the opportunity to grow by teaching me — many times, they have helped me solve a level or given me advice on how to beat a character, and it shows them that I think they are smart and that I value their input. Some of our best conversations have taken place when we are just sitting next to each other on the sofa, immersed in a game and just yammering about our day. I get as excited about games as they do, and we all talk about the new releases coming out and which ones we want to get, then spend release day playing together. It's just something we have always looked forward to. Other families share hobbies, go on trips, watch movies. Us? We'll be counting down the days until Mario Party 10 comes out.

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