Let me share with you how much time I spend in waiting rooms frantically trying to keep two of my kids busy while the third participates in some activity: a lot.
To be more specific, Sam goes to karate two evenings a week for a half hour each day and Jack is currently going to occupational therapy for an hour once a week. Before long, we hope to add an hour of speech therapy as well.
That's a lot of time to spend occupying assorted kids ranging in age from three to almost seven in spaces not necessarily geared for doing such a thing. I have tried many things. When we started karate, I used dry erase boards and markers. Then I started frantically reading them books. Then I started packing bags full of trains and cars. No matter how engaged they are for part of the time, they usually spend at least half of the time trying to cause a scene—something they're very good at.
Then VTech sent me the V.Smile Cyber Pocket, and my life vastly improved. The Cyber Pocket is a hand-held video game system for kids. All the games have educational components, such as as counting, sorting, and number or letter recognition.
For better or for worse, this is the thing that will occupy them for the full amount of time we are waiting. The only time they cause a ruckus is when I make them put it away.
I don't really feel bad about the screen time either, because I don't usually allow screen time until 5 p.m. anyway, so if they're playing between 5 and 6 p.m., that's okay with me because they'd probably be watching TV at home. And this way, I can interact with them while they're doing it.
Or I can read. I'm looking forward to getting some reading done in waiting rooms.
I should have known my kids would love this. They, and especially Jack, are always glued to the screen of other kids' Nintendo DS systems. They are thrilled to have a system of their own.
And this one is easy enough for my three-year-old to play. The controls mostly consist of a joystick and a button, although there is also an option to use the attached pen for parts of the game. I still have to help the littlest guy, but not so much that it is frustrating.
Because we also have the V-Motion, we can use the same games in both systems. As with the V-Motion, my kids liked the game that came with the system, but adore the game I bought for it.
There is a headphone jack, but I haven't used that yet, because there is also a volume control, and the games we've played can be turned down without making the games confusing. There is also an adaptor plug, so you can plug it in to save batteries if you want. (Adaptor not included.)
Honestly the only fault I can find with this game system is that my kids like it too much and are always pestering me to play it. Which can be a drag, but when it comes to waiting rooms, it can be a lifesaver.
Honesty Clause: VTech gave me the Cyber Pocket for free. Other than that, I was uncompensated for this review. The Cyber-Pocket retails for $69.99.