Building Family Relationships Through Family Game NightTracy Lambert
I learned to play Yahtzee last week.
While some in my family are a little more daring and love to play new games, I have always been a bit more conservative to my approach to game night. I tend to stick with the old faithful games that I have played all of my life. In recent years, I’ve learned to play Dutch Blitz and Hear Me Out! I’m not sure how I missed learning to play Yahtzee when I was younger, but it’s never too late, right?
At the end of the evening, I didn’t win, but we all laughed and had a great time! The hours that passed that night seemed like mere minutes.
Do you ever find yourself wondering after a night like this, “Why we don’t make time for game night more often?”
Our lives are busier than ever. Many outside forces work to pull us apart each week. There will always be meetings, deadlines, schedules, company coming, and homeschool lessons. And the list just gets longer as our children mature through middle school and high school!
Having fun with the people we love is important, and thus we need to set aside very specific time for it. I’m well aware my children will not always be in my home. We have to make the most of the time we have now.
For several years, our family has planned a regular game night as a way to relax and reconnect as a family.
With only a few exceptions, each Friday night for the last five years, we have turned off the telephones, computers, and the television for a family game night. Even my grown (married) son returns home some weeks for this gathering.
While the bonding time and laughter is a great benefit (and exactly why we planned a game night from the start), we were surprised to find many other wonderful ways that our regular family game builds family relationships.
- The old saying is true: families that play together, stay together. The bonding that occurs during a regular scheduled time each week cannot be measured. You swap stories, share smiles, and invest time. You sit face-to-face. You listen. These are the things that make each family member feel valued.
- Do you have a problem with your children arguing? Family game night provides a perfect opportunity for children to work together and practice good sportsmanship. They learn not to complain when they lose. They learn to congratulate their siblings or parents when they win. They learn to wait their turn. The lessons your children gain during family game night make family life more harmonious.
- Are there issues in your home with sibling rivalry? Try pairing these children together as a team during game night. It’s a non-confrontational way to teach them to work together and think about each other before themselves.
- During family game night, your family will learn healthy communication skills which will flow into other parts of life. Are you supposed to answer a question? Buy a property? Swap a card? You must learn to communicate effectively to play most games. You must speak clearly and listen. All of these skills spill over into everyday life in a family. While a family enjoys the time playing games together, they are also practicing communication.
- Game time can be fun and educational for all ages within a home. In many cases, younger children are not able to join in sports, music and other activities the older children enjoy in a family. On game night, while older children are learning strategy, concentration, and about the world around them with games like Civitas, the little ones can help hold cards or count pieces. They sense that they are an important part of the family.
- Children can learn life skills together. They learn to wait their turn, read and follow directions, learn from their mistakes, and to work with others, all within the supportive circle of their family.
- During family game night, everyone has the opportunity to disconnect and relax. How many times do our electronic devices that keep us plugged into life also keep us stressed and short-tempered with those that we love most? There is something about taking the time to rest and laugh with folks you care for that makes stress melt away.
- Most importantly, you create positive memories during family game night. Long after your children have grown and moved into homes of their own, they will carry with them the memories of game night. They will remember the focused time and the laughter in their home.
Family game night is not only fun; it is meaningful to each member of a family and beneficial for the family as a whole. It’s a win-win for everyone! I can’t imagine not having family game night as part of our homeschool family life.