We all know that spending time with our families is important, it offers feelings of stability, security, and ultimately love. With all of the demands on our time it is important that families be intentional with their time. Family Game Night is the perfect way to bond with your family, create memories, and have fun. Here are some tips to help Family Game Night be a success at your house.
Ready, set, go! Begin by checking your calendar to find a free hour or so for everyone in your family. Many people become overwhelmed thinking that they must block out an entire evening or that game night must be a weekly occurrence. The frequency and duration of a Family Game Night isn’t the focus, it is simply setting aside time for those most important to you: your family. Also, the best way to keep everyone’s attention is to keep things moving. Some games can be more like a marathon than a sprint. Designating a time for game play, and for each game played, helps to keep the time flowing and everyone focused on the game, parents included.
The first step to a successful game night is choosing games that will hold your family’s interest. If you have a range of ages in your family this can be tricky. To create buy-in let your kiddos pick the games. Thankfully manufactures show the suggested age-ranges on the side of most board games, which should help you steer your kids in the right direction. That might mean each child choose one game and all games are given time limits (15-30 minutes each). The littlest members of your family will most likely have no interest in playing. Let them sit on your lap and engage where they show interest, but have separate activities set out for them so that they are near the fun.
One of the best lessons that you can teach your kiddos during a game night is sportsmanship. Remember, children do a much better job emulating our actions than they do our words. Keep these things in mind as you play:
Be Patience– even when your child has dropped the dice on the floor 700 times, show your child that you can wait nicely and help them to get back on track.
Winning Doesn’t Matter– That old adage “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” is important to keep in mind as you play with your family. Remind children that playing fairly, being kind to other players, and having fun is what games are all about. Winning and losing is just a small part of the story.
Be Flexible– Are pieces to a game missing? Improvise. Did you realize 5 minutes into the game that it just isn’t a good fit? Scrap it and try again. Did you kids get hungry? Take a quick snack break. Rigidity is one of the fastest means of making a fun night anything but fun.
Manage Your Expectations– Life in general, and parenting specifically, seems to be smoother when you enter a situation with your expectations low. If you envision a picture-perfect hour of nothing but joy, love, and gratitude… you are sure to be disappointed. Instead plan on a few bumps along the road and count the smiles as worth any bumps.
Armed with these few hints you are ready to plan and execute a Family Game Night that will be a building block for many family memories.