Looking for advice from parents: Gaming with baby


First Post
Currently my wife and I game in a small group, just us and another married couple. we get together about twice a month, alternating between houses because we live about 90 miles apart ftrom each other. We're all friends and have fairly compatible play styles so, we're pretty comfortable with this arrangement.

My wife and I are expecting our first child in a couple months and are not sure how to best manage baby and gaming. I'm a bit concerned because a previous gaming group that we were in ran into problems when a couple in the group had a baby, though the size (smaller) and style (pretty laid back) of our current group may be able to work around it better.

Parents out there, particularly those in gaming households, how have you you dealt with managing baby and gaming?

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A baby isn't the problem. In a crib, sleeping in a carrier, or hanging out in the porta-crib are all easy compared to the dice swallowing, paper tearing, mini-sling power of a 2 year old.

Thornir Alekeg

Yep, they are fine when they are really little. We brought our kids to the games when they were about a year old. We had a sling that we would hold them in, or we would put them into a pack&play for naps. It is when they got older that it became more of an issue. My daughter got quite bored with us adults sitting around playing and not paying much attention to her.

Now, game days are usually accompanied by visits to grandma and grandpa's house. They watch the kids for the afternoon. Of course we don't play very frequently. If we played twice a month we would not be able to impose on my parents that much.

Also, one player, the most distant of us unfortunately - at least 90 minutes from everyone else, has a daughter about the same age as mine. If we play at his house, the kids play together and the layout of the house is good so that we can keep an eye on them playing while we play.



Our game group has plenty of experience with this. A new baby in a swing or crib is fine, in a nearby room. The next piece of advice is switch off week to week who will attend to the baby once any crying begins. That person may miss small tidbits at the table and have to catch up, but it is totally better than parents who decide to play a power struggle with each other: "let's ignore the baby until it makes the other so mad they have to go deal with it"...which is sick but we've seen it happen.

-DM Jeff


First Post
My group has a baby as well. In fact, he has influenced the outcome of dice rolls, while still in the womb. It seemed rubbing the dice on the mother's belly made the rolls come out better (only dad and mom did this ;) )

The only "problem" now is the occasional crying fit (how can something that small make that much noise?). So the mom and dad are cool with the fact that we either take a 5 minute break, or that one of them are "out of the picture" as we continue.

It's taken some getting used to, but we've adapted.



Newborns are pretty easy looking back in it. But if it is your first baby you probably won't realize this until they are a little older. Then you think back to how much easier it was when you could put them on a blanket in the floor and they really didn't go anywhere. They also sleep a lot and don't really care if they are sleeping in a crib, car seat or swing.

You probably won't have much trouble gaming with a newborn. Follow some of the other suggestions here (determining who visits the screaming child before he or she is actually screaming, etc.).


Reynard said:
A baby isn't the problem. In a crib, sleeping in a carrier, or hanging out in the porta-crib are all easy compared to the dice swallowing, paper tearing, mini-sling power of a 2 year old.

We had to quit our game because of just such a force. The 2, 5, and 8 year old were all too much to handle.


Kids can add a definite wrinkle into the mix. I think the problem is compounded when couples both play. I've been fortunate (?) in that my wife does *not* game, so she can stay home and watch the kid while I go game. We're expecting our second in November, so hopefully she supports me in this pattern. :)

I think if you time the guys to coincide around naptime, or bedtime, you should be ok. Our current group games on Friday nights starting at 8:00, so that seems to work out fairly well. Admittedly, you're going to have more problems down the line when the kids get older. But you shouldn't notice much of a change in gaming for the first year or so.

But, your life is going to be totally different, I can tell you that!


First Post
I have a friend who used to play Warhammer with a guy who's wife walked out on him leaving him with the 6 month old. He's bring her to gaming, with a cradle and would rock her while he played. No one minded at all.


I would say that a lot depends on the baby. When our eldest was a baby, he was more than content to just lie there. Our daughter demanded lots of attention - right now! Our youngest loves to grab stuff, so he couldn't be near the gaming table but was fine otherwise.

I've found that gaming around them gets easier as they get older, provided that they have something to do. There are seven kids ages 2-10 roaring around when we game so there tend to be a lot of interruptions. Our group is quite tolerant of these interruptions, but they would probably drive someone without kids nuts.


First Post
Chiming in with consensus, but yes, babies are easy - toddlers make you have to game after bedtime only. Which isn't a problem unless you're used to marathon game sessions.

You just lose marathon (5+ hours) games sessions with kids, that's all - unless there's someone watching the kids for you.

Thornir Alekeg

Mythmere1 said:
Chiming in with consensus, but yes, babies are easy - toddlers make you have to game after bedtime only. Which isn't a problem unless you're used to marathon game sessions.

Or if you have night owl/light sleeping children like mine.


First Post
When we first found our current group, one of the couple therein had just had a baby - he wasn't a problem at all, in fact. Kids cry, and I didn't mind when one or both of them needed to excuse themselves from the table to attend to their child. It is, after all, just a game.

The only problem the child produced was that the parents decided they didn't like hauling him to the game location, and the rest of the group (myself included) was unwilling to haul ourselves out to the place where they lived every week or two. So, we parted gaming ways. :(


I know Wizardru and his wife scheduled game sessions to start around the time they'd put the kids to sleep. Of course this does mean that games could easily go until 1 am or so.

The Shaman

First Post
We put our 1-y.o. to bed before we start playing our twice-monthly tabletop game - game-time usually lasts from eight p.m. to about eleven or so on the first and third Saturdays.

She's too mobile and too inquisitive for us to try to play while she's awake. Newborns are a snap - it's when the blessed anklebiters start crawling that you have to adjust your habits, IMX.


First Post
My 6-month old comes to gaming with me every two weeks or so. As has been said above, it wasn't that much of a difficulty. Babies that age tend to sleep a lot, so he really didn't interfere with the flow of things much at all. Now he's active as heck and I just bring his doorway jumper with me and he's kept as happy as ever with a break or five for changing and food preparation.

A second wee one is soon to be born to our group and so she'll be involved the same way. Babies and gaming work out fine if you game with adults (Who tend to be a little more patient with such things), with teenagers or children? Hrm - I have no experience with this, but I can guess it'd be a little different and not so "easy".


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
My experiences of gaming with babies is roughly the same. They're pretty easy as newborns because they either sleep or nurse a lot and that keeps them quiet and relatively still. My wife found that she was too tired all the time to really focus on the game though. So she tended to be a half-interested player until she finally dropped out of that particular game.
Toddlers require a lot more attention. Figure on only one of the couple being really 'there' until that toddler goes down for bed. And hope that the rest of the players are tolerant enough to play most sessions at the parents' home, it's much easier that way.
Once they're past toddler stage, they still need a lot of individual attention unless there are other kids to play with. So continue to figure on one of the couple being only partly there until the kid is old enough to concentrate on the game console/PC/bunch of DVDs for long stretches.


First Post
What to do with the baby isn't the only issue: don't forget that you'll be dealing with your own sleep deprivation and having let other things slide (e.g., household chores). You might end up feeling that if you have time to do something, you might want to use it to catch up on sleep or other stuff instead of rolling dice. In other words, gaming might get knocked down a few on the priority list, at least for a while. I know I was fighting that for the first few gaming sessions after we had our baby (six months old tomorrow!).

That all said, it's VERY important to do what you can to relieve stress - you'll have plenty. :)


I'll add a bit.

Our child was pretty difficult until she was 3-4 months old. This greatly limited our options with respect to just about everything. Certainly my wife and I allowed her to restrict us a lot more than we should have, but at the same time a bad day (and they were common) would have driven everyone crazy.

In otherwords, you will probably get away with gaming with the baby around, but you may find you have to rotate who gets to game and who gets to stay home with the kid. Plan for both....


A lot of it is the attitude of the parents. We never had a problem with our first. My wife would duck behind the couch when it was time to nurse, but otherwise no big. When the second came along, it was a bit more -- switch off tasks until their bedtimes match up, then a bit of extra time tucking them in, etc.

The real challenge is that we've now got three under five and I'm the GM, so my wife is on her own. Only the last month or so has been bad, with the youngest needing needing fed the first half-hour and the last half-hour, with bedtime for the other two midway through. She's missed a chunk of the game the last 3-4 sessions, but we were largely doing in-town/downtime/bookkeeping stuff. Soon enough, though, the feeding schedule will change again, with more solids, and an earlier bedtime (about the same as the others), so we may be able to just call a mid-point break and tag-team all the kids.

Epic Threats

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