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Why play board games as a family

Do you like to play board games with your family? Have you every stopped to ask yourself why?

We know there are many great reasons why playing games are good for children: learning social skills, learning how to take turns, learning how to think critically, and more. But when you pull a board game off the shelf are you really thinking “I need to help Johnny learn some critical reasoning skills tonight.”? I don’t think so.

Since we’ve started our board game and card game video reviews, people have wondered if that’s all we do. They’ve wondered if we simply play games every day. Well, the answer to that question is a resounding “no”.

Like most families, our lives of full of many activities every day that have us all going in different directions. And even after we get back home after school and work, there are yet more activities that keep us running around. Lacrosse practices, soccer practices, dance practice, boy scouts activities, piano lessons, and guitar lessons. The kids also need to fit in their school homework to the mix. Then throw on top of that the meetings mom and dad have as well as trying to fit in a date night. And what do you have left? The weekend. Nope. Because that’s taken too with all the sports games and such.

If you’re a parent (which we assume the readers of this typically are), then I’m sure you’re just nodding your head in agreement. Or you could be saying, “You ain’t seen nothin’ brother. We also have swimming lessons, voice lessons, karate, city council, school board, yada yada yada.” The point is – we’re all feeling the demands of many activities on our families. So what can we do?

Well, there are a number of things we do to try to keep our sanity in check and to make sure we keep focused on what matters most. And what we feel matters most is our family.

Experience life together
Part of developing a good family is providing experiences for our children to be well rounded. So we sign them up for various activities to let them discover things that they enjoy. But in doing so, we try to minimize the strain on our family time. So we let each child select a sport and a musical instrument, but limit it to one at a time. When possible, dad takes the coaching role to be there with them. And when there’s a performance or a game, we all go together to support each other (as much as game schedules allow).

Make the time
Another key to keeping the family together is simply making the time. Even with all the evening activities we make eating dinner together as a family a focus (another benefit of coaching the sports teams is dad can pick the practice times). Sitting down together for even a few brief minutes in the evening can help keep us grounded.

Two other points during the week that we make the time for is attending church services together every Sunday and having a Family Night every Monday. Both of these activities are great ways to recharge our batteries every week and show our family what’s important to us.

Family Game Time
So family game time usually crops up during those recharging activities (ok, not during church, but during that day). And it’s not always board games and card games either. A Monday family night game might be an obstacle course in the back yard, or animal charades, or karaoke. But it’s something that we all do together to have fun. But our board game closet does get the most visitors on those days.

Sunday afternoons are great times to pull out a board game or card game and sit down together and enjoy one another’s company. On Monday nights we make sure to all play together, but on Sunday, board games or card games are usually in smaller groups. Stealing away to a child’s bedroom for a card game is great one-on-one bonding time. And sitting down with two siblings that weren’t getting along earlier in the week and pulling out a cooperative board game can be a great way to get them working together again.

While those may be the most frequent times we play board games as a family, they aren’t the only times. The trick is being able to set aside your cares long enough to spend a little bit of your time with your kids in fun mode. If you have a stash of some simple card games, it really only takes 5 minutes to share some special moments with your children. And that’s why we really play board games – to simply share more moments together.

Oh and did I forget to mention how much joy can be had from getting everyone out in the garden to weed? Well, that’s probably because we’re still working on that one.

- The Board Game Family

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