Getting a Nintendo Switch? Read this First!

Thinking about getting your child (or yourself!) a Nintendo Switch? Here’s what you need to know about this very popular gaming platform, and what you’ll need to go with it. From deciding between a regular Switch and the Switch Lite, to what additional accessories you might need, we’ve got you covered. And if you have a question not covered, please drop a comment!

*Links to Amazon are affiliate links where we may earn a small (very small) commission if you purchase anything. And if you do, thank you!

nintendo switch console

Nintendo Switch or a Switch Lite?

The first thing most parents ask is whether they should get a regular Nintendo Switch, or a Nintendo Switch Lite. The main different between the two is that the Lite cannot be connected to the TV. It’s only a portable gaming system. The controllers also do not remove.

The big benefit of the regular Switch is how easy it is to pop it on its docking station and connect it to the TV. Then when you want to use it on the go, you just remove it from the dock and snap on the controllers. I highly recommend going for the regular Switch. It makes it easier for the whole family to play together and its worth the extra investment.

Click here to check out the Switch on Amazon, which comes with the docking station and Joy-Con for $299

The Nintendo Switch Lite runs about $100 cheaper and is a good option if you already have another gaming system, or don’t plan to play on the TV. But overall, you get a better deal and will get more use out of a regular Switch.

What Do I Need with It?

If you get a set like the one linked above, you have everything you need to get started. However, you might want to add on a few extra things

Extra Joy-Con

You’ll probably want to add an extra Joy-Con (this is what the game controllers are called) if you want to be able to play 2-player games on the TV. You can get real Nintendo brand ones for around $80, or aftermarket ones for $25-$45. One thing you’ll find out- they are all going to eventually get weird and break.

I’ve tried many different kinds of controllers over the past few years and found the real Nintendo ones do seem to last a little bit longer, but the aftermarket styles work pretty good as well. At the rate we go through them, I usually stick to buying the ones that cost about $35. My son is pretty rough on the controllers.

Click here to check out more controller options.
gamer headphones


If you don’t enjoy the sounds of Minecraft and Fortnight in the background, then it’s good to invest in a pair of headphones. We tested out the Turtle Beach Recon headphones a while back, and still use them. Gaming headphones are usually more comfortable because they are meant to be worn for long periods of time, plus they have a microphone for communicating in online gaming.

You can use both wireless and wired headphones with the Switch. I’d have gone with wireless, but we were sent the wired style. And you don’t need fancy headphones- any kind of headphones will work.

gaming headphones

Protect Your Switch

Since the Nintendo Switch is portable, you’ll want to protect it with a good case and screen protector. The screen protectors are very cheap, but a worthy investment. I got this 3-pack because it is a good deal, and we’ve never even had to replace the first one yet: Tempered Glass Screen Protector 3-pack

We use this carrying case, which works with both the Switch and Switch Lite. It has space for the console, controllers and games. They also make cases that will fit the docking station as well, which is great for traveling.

Nintendo Switch Carrying Case

nintendo switch carrying case

Extra Memory

Once you start downloading games, you’ll find the memory that comes with the system starts to fill up a bit fast. The good news is that extra memory is very easy to install. All you need is an SD card, and you just insert it in a little slot and it’s ready. Extra Memory for Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Games

Of course you’ll want to add a game or two to get started, so check out our post about the 10 Best Video Games for Younger Kids for recommendations of family-friendly titles. If you are in a hurry, you can’t go wrong with anything in the Mario universe. And kids who are old enough to read might enjoy games like Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing. (two of our favorites) Also, be prepared to embrace all things Minecraft, especially if you have a little boy.

The Switch does have access to a huge game library for purchase, and you can play many games for free with a Nintendo Online membership. Which leads me to the last bit of advice-

Open, Charge and Set-up Your Account

If you are giving this as a Christmas gift to your child, do yourself a favor and open it, charge it and get your Nintendo account all set-up ahead of time!

I made the mistake of not doing that, and then the kiddo opened it up, got all excited, then had to wait for it to charge, and then had to wait for me to set-up the account, and then had to wait for it to download updates! No kid on Christmas morning wants to wait, wait, wait!

So open that thing up and get it ready to go on the big day. You’ll be able to create a parent account and child accounts and add on parental controls. This is all way easier to do when not being pestered by an impatient child.

Gaming Can be Quality Time

I know a lot of parents who are very resistant to getting their kids a gaming system, because they don’t want them stuck on it all the time. Set healthy time limits and it won’t be an issue. There are a lot of benefits to gaming that are overlooked. Zelda helped teach my son math and the concept of higher/lower and Animal Crossing actually inspired him to learn to read because he wanted to be able to communicate with friends on there. But that’s because I gamed WITH him. Yes, he plays on his own and with friends, but I make time to play with him and he learns as we play and talk about the game. Mindful gaming can be very beneficial and make learning fun.

About the Author

Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.

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