Is the weather being uncooperative?
Is winter hanging on or are you faced with a rainy weekend? That’s no reason you can’t have a fun and memorable time with your kids! It’s times like these when you need to gather the kids around the kitchen table and break out the snacks and the family board games. You’ll be amazed how the hours will pass as you share conversation and laughter with your children around the table.
By no means a waste of time…
On the surface, you may think that spending time playing board games is a total waste of time. After all, you’ve got more important things to do, right? Certainly, there must be a more constructive way to spend an evening or a weekend afternoon. Au contraire mon cheri!
What are the benefits?
Of course there are the obvious benefits that board games present:
- Teaching young children to follow rules / instructions: perhaps reinfocing simple tasks like counting or adding or more complex thinking and strategizing.
- Teaching young children how to be a gracious winner, or loser, as the case may be.
- Taking your minds off of the daily stresses that we all have (perhaps more beneficial to the parents than the kids).
More importantly, the time that you devote to giving your children “face time” and connecting with them on their level is valuable (indeed, precious)! You’ve heard the often quoted saying that “they won’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care”. Well, that saying is as true with children as with anyone else in your life.
- Do you want your children to love, respect and obey you?
- Do you want them to feel free to communicate openly with you?
- Do you want them to look to you for guidance?
They will if they feel loved and know that you care about them as individuals. Taking time out of your busy schedule to devote to your children communicates volumes to them.
What to play…
If you’re unsure of what to play, you can generally not go wrong with any of the classic board games: Monopoly, Yahtzee, Risk, Life, Candy Land. Of course, you’ll need to consider the ages of your children, but don’t be afraid to challenge your youngsters — remember that one of the side benefits of family game time can be teaching (or reinforcing) simple topics like counting or adding in a fun way. I was amazed at how quickly my 8-year old became proficient with making change after we’d played Monopoly only a couple times. Of course, I was also amazed that he won both of those games hands-down — I think he may grow up to be a realtor, a bank president or a Wallstreet tycoon :).
- Don’t be overly competitive (men, I’m talking to you 🙂 ). Remember, the focus of game time is not to “WIN AT ALL COSTS“. You, as the parent, will have won if you’ve engaged your children, made them feel special and built more warm memories together.
- A lot of the classic board games, like Monopoly, have themed boards (e.g., Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, My Little Pony, Mario, etc.) which may be more appealing to your kids.
- Tailor the game, if needed, and agree to any rule changes up front. E.g., for Monopoly, my kids and I generally agree to a time limit (which is beneficial if you have a fixed amount of time available to play). At the end of the allotted time, each player adds up the value of their cash, property and houses/hotels to determine the winner.
Till next time… may you continue to build warm family memories with your children!