How To Game with a Baby - The First Six Months
On March 21st 2019, my partner and I got to see the face of our newborn son, Levi. He was the sweetest thing with his tiny, little features and super quiet noises. Our lives changed forever since that day, for the better I might add, and it has made it very hard to squeeze in game time. I did manage it in a few places, but I wanted to share my experience of the past six months of trying to play video games with a newborn baby in the house and hopefully help you find the time if you have also had a child.
The First Month is a Write-Off
Let me start off by saying that I was fortunate enough to be allowed a month off from work. I had two weeks paternity leave and two weeks taken as holiday. That was the perfect amount of time to have off. Two weeks is definitely not enough and I believe paternity leave should be increased to a month. Mothers do an incredible job and need all the support they can get, so it’s great for them to have someone else around.
I knew the first week home from the hospital would be a write-off. My partner was recovering and we were both staying at her dad’s house. Games were one of the last things on my mind. I had this beautiful creature that I had to tend to a lot of the time so we mainly lived on the sofa watching movies and Brooklyn-99. We often say how Brooklyn-99 saved us and kept us sane. Notable movies I watched (because of their relation to video games) were Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Assassin’s Creed and Tomb Raider.
The rest of the month was spent at my house where I still live with my dad. I have my own space I guess, but we will be moving out soon. Anyway, I don’t think I even turned my PlayStation on that entire month!
Handheld is Your Friend
Going back to work meant finding a routine HA! We did try and I actually started playing my Nintendo Switch again after a hiatus. I would sit in bed for an hour each night and play an adorable little game called Cat Quest. It was Purr-fect (see what I did there?) because it could be played in these bite-sized chunks without you losing any of the story or having a lesser experience. One great thing about choosing to game on the Switch, in the beginning, is that fact I could just put it on standby in an instant when Levi began to cry.
Eventually, Cat Quest was over and I had to find a new game to play. I don’t own many Switch games so I decided I would finally play Assassin’s Creed 2 seeing as I had owned it on Steam for ages and had never played an Assassin’s Creed game before. Just so you know, I thought it was a fantastic game, but I will get to that at another time. I went about playing this the wrong way though because it took me over a month. The new routine I had been trying was to play Assassin’s Creed straight after work and this was a problem because Levi likes to be held and kicks up a fuss when you’re not paying attention to him. He would make an excellent Youtuber someday, right? So I would then try and play it at the weekend but we ran into the same issue.
I couldn’t play Assassin’s Creed as much as I would like so I blew the dust off of my Nintendo 3DS to play as we would put Levi to bed at the same time as us. My game of choice here was Fantasy Life and that is another charming game that I will talk to you about another time! I would play this in the same fashion as I did Cat Quest. Assassin by day and living a Fantasy Life by night.
Take Advantage of Nap Time
Time for a new tactic! Spider-Man on PS4 was my next adventure after Assassin’s Creed and I thought this game was incredible, but we won’t talk about that right now! I still tried to squeeze in game time after work, but I would also try and get most of my hours in while Levi was taking a nap or feeding. Unfortunately, this boy gets bad FOMO and will fight as hard as he can against napping, but there are occasions where he succumbs to his heavy lids. The weekends were always the better times and I managed to get a good 4-hour session in one Saturday while Levi and my partner napped next to me on the sofa.
I recorded my playthrough of Spider-Man and you can see a lot of times where I have the game paused for minutes at a time, often in the middle of a fight!
Get Baby into a Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine has now been introduced. We felt it a good idea to try and get him into a routine as early as possible so we started around 4 and a half months. It took a few tweaks here and there but we found a sweet spot at about 7:30-8ish. This means I can play games after Levi had gone to bed and have the baby monitor on the side. Another great thing by this point is the fact he is pretty much sleeping all the way through the night.
The next game was ready to begin. A game I had owned for a while. A game I had wanted to play ever since it was released. A game that many consider being one of the best ever made. Yes, I decided to take on the behemoth that is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. That was 4 weeks ago, at the time of writing, and I haven’t touched it for 3 of those 4 weeks. I have been putting more time into my channel and blog which is why I have had less time for gaming. However, much like we did for Levi, if I tweak my own bedtime, I can get some time for gaming and you can too!
This is just my experience of trying to find the time to game in the first six months of becoming a father. I’m sure things will look drastically different in another six months, but I hope that any other new parents out there can see this and figure out their own ways that work. I would also love to know how successful your attempts are so let me know in the comments!
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