Snacks, board games, and the family gathered around. It must be family game night! Although we homeschoolers often use games in our to reinforce academic lessons, playing games as a family also imparts values and character through positive socialization.
Social Skills to Practice
There are many skills that are practiced in the natural course of game play. Others can be emphasized or worked in with little extra effort. Here are a few of the social skills that come from playing games:
- following rules
- taking turns
- negotiating rules
- being a good winner/loser
- objecting politely
- communicating clearly
Every Age Can Benefit
From the very youngest child to the teen, all children need to practice social skills. From taking turns, to saying “please” and “thank you,” to winning with grace, there are many opportunities for mastering social graces when playing a card or board game as a family. Following rules are required for not just good game play but for life. Sharing and taking turns are important to avoid chaos.
Other games provide a place to practice roles requiring some measure of responsibility, such as being the banker or the one in charge of a timer. Playing games as a family is a safe place to win or lose with dignity. Losing is easier when you are congratulating a sibling. Some of these need to be practiced often and throughout childhood as children mature to different levels. We have seen the younger children struggle with losing and then experience the flip-side with a pre-teen who is not a humble winner.
Building Socialization Skills
When children are young, it is important to remember that these skills will grow as they do. A very young child can be expected to be upset when they do not win. When possible, allowing them to win can go a long way in learning empathy. They will learn to think of others’ feelings before their own, and you can guide them in being humble and not to brag.
When they experience losing a game, you can guide to the best attitude to take and how to control frustration. Feeling sad is an appropriate response. The matter to address with your child is the degree of the sadness and how it is expressed.
It warms my heart when the youngest sibling is the one to console an older sibling when they have lost a game. They are building those skills and practicing empathy. Many of these socialization skills are putting into action good character. These things do not always come naturally, providing an environment to learn and practice them in will help your children to do well in real-life situations outside of your living room.