Plan a Family Games Night
Tips to Have Fun, Build Skills & Boost Communication
By Christopher Byrne, The Toy Guy®
Why is family game night such a good idea? First of all, it’s a fun way for families to spend time together. Games allow you to compete, show off skills and learn sportsmanship. They encourage family communication. Family game night is like a mini-vacation where everyone can enjoy each other’s company -- and make memories that will last forever.
Here’s how to make your game night something you look forward to all week:
- Clear the books. Make this an important date. This sends a good message about family priorities, and it gives everyone something to anticipate.
- Keep it to the family. You may want to make other game evenings when you invite guests, but for this night, make sure it’s all about your immediate family. This fosters communication, comfort and helps everyone build a strong sense of family identity.
- No interruptions. Let the machine get phone calls, turn off your cell and PDA, and make sure all homework is done beforehand.
- Choose the right game. Make sure that everyone can enjoy playing the game, and let different family members choose the game. In fact, you might share the duties of being “in charge” of the night so that everyone gets a turn to create the event. (Of course mom and dad can assist the youngest players.)
- Vary the games you play. It doesn’t really matter what you play, as long as everyone can feel like a participant. But balance games of skill with games of luck so that everyone gets a chance to do something they’re good at -- and improve the odds of having a winning night.
- Use this as a teaching time. Family game night is a great time to reinforce things like manners, being a good sport, taking turns and other social skills that children will need as they grow up and go out in the world. This can all be done with good humor in the context of the game play and the family, and it gives kids a chance to practice these positive behaviors.