There are many benefits of family game nights. They are a fun activity to share that increases bonding and teaches essential skills. Making them a part of your busy week can be a challenge. This guide dives into why it is worth making the effort and includes tips on how to make them successful.
Benefits of Family Game Night
It’s easy to fill our schedules with activities and spend all of our free time in front of screens. Playing interactive games is an opportunity to engage in a social activity together that many families are missing. The games we played as kids may have been the ones our parents played when they were kids, and this passing down creates a connection to our childhood. They can also be shared across generations and are a fun way to spend time with grandparents, cousins, and other family members.
Playing games together strengthens communication and creates positive memories. 5 Research-Based Reasons Why Family Game Nights Are Important says that kids who play games with their parents have “a more positive perception of the parent-child relationship.”
Increase Academic Success
Starting at an early age, kids learn important skills by playing games that can be built on as they age. These include social skills such as following directions, communication, being a good sport, and cooperation. Kids will also gain an expanded vocabulary, math skills, increased knowledge, and problem-solving ability.
According to Bringing Back Family Game Night, games can lead to better grades, higher reading scores, and more motivation in school.
Tips for a Successful Game Night
Pick Age-Appropriate Games
Selectingage-appropriate games is a top priority for setting up your game night. You can do this by searching online for topics like Board Games for Preschoolers or Best Board Games for Elementary-Aged Kids. Ask friends or your Facebook parent groups for recommendations. Or, play the classics you loved as a kid.
Some games will be a hit with your family, and some will flop, so it’s helpful to have several available. Select different types of games to find out which ones work best for your family. Board games can be pricey, so yard and consignment sales are an excellent way to find them inexpensively. You can also borrow from friends to make sure it is one your family enjoys before investing in a $40 to $60 game.
Build Up Stamina
Many games can take an hour or even longer to play, especially when you include the time spent teaching everyone the rules. Start with games that are quick to learn and play, so your kids don’t get bored and lose interest. Five Fast Family Games You Can Play in Fifteen Minutes provides some fun and quick ideas.
As kids get older, they may enjoy longer strategy games. Play these games on a card table or somewhere the game can stay for a while. There is no rule against splitting up the gameplay into two nights or more.
How Often Depends On Age
Preschool-age kids are usually up for anything that involves spending time with you. Plus, there are many skills to learn when new to gaming. Playing shorter games often with younger kids will help make game nights more successful.
For older kids with busier schedules, game night doesn’t have to happen weekly for it to become a family tradition. Once or twice a month still has positive impacts. And, if more often works for you, all the better! Whatever you decide to do, letting your pre-teen and teenage kids know ahead of time might reduce some of the eye rolls. Even if there are some, they are bound to enjoy themselves once the games begin.
As mentioned above, introducing games frequently for younger children can help them learn the basics of game playing. It’s important to remember they are starting from scratch and need to learn everything from taking turns, moving their pieces, what it takes to win the game.
For more complicated games, it can be helpful to read the rules ahead of time. Even better, watch a video on how to play as a family. Gather Together Games has videos on dozens of popular board and card games.
Set Family Rules
In addition to the rules of the game, it is helpful to have family rules. These include following the game rules (no cheating!), good sportsmanship, and whether devices are allowed. 6 Rules For Family Night also includes rules like “there will be dessert” and “there will be fun”, to keep the evening lighthearted and enjoyable.
Now you know the benefits and have some essential tips for creating a successful game night. What are you waiting for? Time to pull out Chutes and Ladders or pop online to order that game your best friend’s family loves. Let the fun times and memory building begin!