The Benefits of Board Game Nights

By Dana Brumm, Curriculum Specialist at the West Allis/Wauwatosa Ebenezer Child Care Center

So much is competing for our family’s attention these days, like cool high tech gadgets, that we have forgotten about board games which have been relegated to those childhood memories. Renewing the family game night can lead to a family bonding experience that is not only fun, but can improve children’s mental and emotional development, helping them perform better in school and social settings.
In the hustle and bustle of work and life, we forget how valuable spending time with our families in face-to-face playtime can be. Board games are helpful in building close connections as well as a learning tool for young children. Board games can help reinforce the following:

Practice Good Sportsmanship
We need to model for our children that part of any game is winning and losing, and being happy for other people when things go well for them in the game or learning to be a good
winner if it’s you that wins. Talking about this skill before starting game night can help eliminate bad feelings.

Follow the Rules
Talk about the rules of the game before playing and stress the importance of being honest.

Social Emotional Competency
Don’t forget to control your own emotions, too. Demonstrate to kids how to handle themselves when things don’t go their way in the game. Some children are able to improve their sharing and negotiation skills by playing board games and building their social emotional intelligence.

How to Choose the Right Game?
Focus on Skills
Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish by playing the game. This will help narrow the selection.

Know your child
Choose a game that’s not only age-appropriate, but that also suits the temperament of your child. Mixing games up with various types, such as memory or cooperative games that encourage team work and sharing, can help make family game night not only about winning and losing, but simply about
having fun.

Family game night is a wonderful tradition you shouldn’t miss out on with your family. If you’re too busy to commit to once a week, try setting aside a night every other week. Your family will benefit so much from family game night.

Try it and make some amazing memories!