Child plays on Nintendo Switch

Tech & Media

5 Things to Know About Buying a Nintendo Switch for Your Kids

May 24, 2017

Earlier this year, Nintendo released a new gaming console called the Nintendo Switch. I grew up playing Nintendo and Super Nintendo, but spent many hours playing games on other Nintendo consoles such as the Wii and WiiU over the years as well. So when I first heard about Nintendo's newest console, I knew we had to have it for our family.

Perhaps your kids have heard about the Switch and have been begging you to get one. So what is it? What do you need to know about the Switch as a parent?

Close-up of Nintendo Switch screen and two blue and orange handheld consoles.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

What is the Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch is sort of a cross between a handheld gaming system and a regular home console. The console comes with a tablet, a docking station, two mini controllers called Joy-Cons, and a grip to attach the two mini controllers to form a regular controller. The tablet screen is also a touch screen, just like an iPad or any other tablet.

Woman holding Nintendo game controls.

It is a really versatile gaming system! You can play it on the go, similar to a Nintendo 3DS or any other portable gaming system, by sliding the Joy-Cons onto the edges of the tablet. Or you can slide the tablet into the dock, slide the Joy-Cons into the grip, and play the Switch on your TV. Or you can set up the tablet on its built-in stand and play on it as if it were a small TV screen. And it's really easy to switch from one mode to the other, which is really the best part about this console.


5 Things to Know Before Buying a Nintendo Switch for Your Kids

1. It Can Be Enjoyed by the Entire Family

While the Switch certainly allows for solo gaming on the go, it is also a great family console, much like its predecessors the Wii and WiiU. So be prepared to spend some quality time playing fun games, like Mario Kart, together.

2. It Has Great Parental Controls

You can restrict features and content, keep track of what your kids are playing, and set limits on how long your kids play for. There is even an app for your smartphone that lets you control these features. Handy, right?

3. It Is Expensive

It retails for $399.99, which certainly isn't cheap, but considering the versatility of the gaming console, I think it is worth it. The fact that it is portable really makes it seem like you are getting two video game consoles in one, which I think justifies the price tag.

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4. You Will Need to Buy a Screen Protector

My biggest concern with being able to switch between playing modes is the possibility that the tablet's screen could get scratched going in and out of the dock. I highly recommend getting a screen protector to prevent scratches.

5. There Aren't a Lot of Games...Yet

Unless your kids are really into the Legend of Zelda games, there isn't much available yet. However, they do have an exciting lineup of games coming out, including a new Mario title, which my kids and I are excited to play. However, the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a fantastic game so you'll definitely want to scoop up that game if your kids are ages 10+.

Article Author Dyan Robson
Dyan Robson

Read more from Dyan here.

Married to her high school sweetheart, Dyan is mom to two boys, J and K, who also teaches piano out of her home. On her blog And Next Comes L, Dyan shares her story of raising a child with hyperlexia, hypernumeracy and autism, amongst a variety of sensory activities for kids. You can find out more about their story on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.


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