To all the moms who say, “You should be able to connect with your kids in nature without Pokémon Go!” I say…yup, been there, done that and right now…I’m doing this. It’s so easy to naysay something without even giving it a chance.
Here are the 10 amazing benefits that my kids and I are receiving from me being a self-declared Pokémon Go addict:
1. We are getting outside and exercising
Our Town Hall and other areas in town have a bunch of Poke Stops with tons of little critters running about, so now my kids and I are racking up the mileage (and hatching eggs) as we explore different neighborhoods.
2. We are meeting new people
As a shy person, I am not good at starting up conversations with strangers…Shazam! Problem be gone! While I’m playing Pokémon, I am not only saying hello, but having full-fledged conversations with strangers that I normally would run and hide from. My kids are noticing (and impressed with bold Mommy!) and can only benefit from seeing my new self-confidence at play and learning how easy it is to start a conversation by talking about a noticeable similarity.
3. I am having massive amounts of teachable moments with my kids
Pokémon Go playing introduces so many opportunities to teach in a fun way. The most obvious is how important it is to always remain aware and stay safe. I’ve also started great discussions with my kids about what it means to be respectful and when and where it isn’t appropriate to do certain things. My kids are even doing math without realizing it as they decide which Pokémon to evolve and which to keep.
4. We are having fun
Well, duh! It’s super fun to see a colorful cartoon monster on your cell phone and try to catch it by throwing a Poke ball at it—not to mention that you can transfer extras to the professor who then gives you a candy, which can be used to evolve Pokémon.
5. We are experiencing the feelings of control and success
While many of us often experience feelings of life being out of our control or failure, capturing a cartoon creature in a Poke ball can feel quite empowering. Yes, it is one small slice of our life and it is only a game, still…winning stokes feelings of accomplishment in little kids (and big ones).
6. We are learning
Contrary to popular belief, we are not spending our whole Pokémon adventures with our faces buried downward into the phone. Most of the time, we are looking around us, talking about the plants and animals we are seeing. Pokémon Stops tend to be historical monuments or other important areas or features of towns, so the kids and I have been learning local history by viewing the statues, memorials and signs while also receiving free Poke balls.
7. We are sharing
My children do not have their own cell phones, so they all have to share Mom’s. They are forced to compromise and brainstorm different ways of handling individual playtime when we go somewhere.
8. I am taking breaks at work
I tend to be a workaholic and when I’m at my full-time job, I barely ever leave the office. Needing to load up on Poke balls for fun later has gotten me to step foot off campus and explore the area where I work. I stretch my legs, see the sun and generally return to work reenergized and more vibrant for the rest of my workday.
9. We (mostly me) all need a little escape sometimes
I believe it is healthy to escape “real” life and forget about our problems for awhile. I am not always in the mood to listen to my kids arguing with each other. Playing Pokémon Go magically helps them to have fun together. The other evening, we went to a park that I had heard had lots of Pokémon. While the results were not as bounteous as we had hoped, my kids got lost in playing other made-up games as we hiked around the lake and played on the playground.
10. We are catching them all!
The addictive collecting factor that kids (and certain adults like me) love is obviously present as we search to collect one of every Pokémon and battle it out at Poke Gyms to win our place in Pokémon lore! The challenge and fun-spirited sense of competition never takes on a feeling of meanness, but rather a sense of camaraderie and an adventure’s spirit.
Overall, Pokémon is an awesome invigorator that gives kids and grown-ups another reason to get outside, play together and have fun. As long as Pokémon is practiced safely, the wins and bonuses that come with its use far outweigh any negatives I have encountered.
Seriously, why wouldn’t you want to be a cool Poke-Mom like me?
About the Author
Sheila Hageman is a multi-tasking wife and mother of three who blogs for The Huffington Post. Her memoir, Stripping Down is a meditation on womanhood and body image and she has a novel, Beautiful Something Else, published by 48Fourteen. Sheila has work in places like Salon, Mamalode, Your Tango, Yahoo Parenting, Mom Babble, Great Moments in Parenting, Say It with a Bang, She Knows, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Role Reboot, The Fertile Source, Prime Mincer, and Foliate Oak Literary Journal. To learn more, please visit her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.