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Animal Crossing: Fueling Kids’ Sense of Accomplishment During Covid-19

A Whole New View on Animal Crossing

I’ve become obsessed with my lawn since the onset of Coronavirus-induced quarantine.  

I kid you not.  Since the first day of lockdown, my green thumb sprouted up. 

The desire to achieve a lawn comparable to a lush carpet all on my own – one that invites bare feet and blanket-less sitting – has me spending countless hours learning about aerating, proper feeding, seed types, and the best way there is to actually lay seed.  Who knew there were different ways to even “lay seed”?  Obviously, not me.

I never truly considered the science or work behind growing a thick lawn, having always left that job to my landscaper.  Yes, I’d occasionally mow it between mows to achieve a Zen-like state during high stress times but that was really as far as my relationship with my lawn went.  Now, having placed my landscaper on temporary hiatus, my lawn has become my baby. 

Rather than becoming annoyed by this fact, I’m loving it.  Why?  Because mentoring the growth of a near-perfect lawn is providing me with needed feelings of accomplishment to replace the many that I’ve lost as a result of quarantine.  

My ten year-old is experiencing the same feelings of accomplishment through his playing of Animal Crossing.   Yes, he is playing the game much more than I would normally allow under ordinary circumstances.  Like the rest of us, however, our kids have lost much of what provides them with feelings of accomplishment due to the impact of Covid-19 on their daily lives.  It’s very distressing for them.  How do I know?  My son told me so.  He was very clear in his explanation, which made me immediately relate back to my current obsession with growing my lawn.

I wanted to share this story with you because, often times, we parents forget how important it is for the health and welfare of our kids that they feel like they are accomplishing things and are growing through these accomplishments.  WIthout the ability to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities, play with friends, or even attend school in the normal way, much of what provides kids with this sense is lost from their lives.  

Games like Animal Crossing fill that need.   It’s no different than what my lawn is doing for me.  Where we think that our kids are obsessively playing merely to cope with boredom, this isn’t the case at all.   We need to realize that there is more going on here, well-beyond ‘moving from a tent into a house’.

It’s an explanation that may make you feel less guilty when your kids glue themselves for periods of time to their Switches.  I know it’s helped me understand…as well as understand my son even better.  

Now if I could only get him to teach me how to keep my real lawn as well manicured as his virtual one, I’d be rockin’.

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