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3 Benefits Your Family Can Reap From Playing Together
What if I told you there was a technique you could use to bring your family closer together and teach your children important life skills? What if I told you it could be both fun and free?
The simple technique is setting up a regular family game night. It sounds too simple, too easy, but spending time every week or every month together as a family playing games can reap tremendous rewards for your family and especially your children. Your children will learn important social skills and academic skills, but you will all benefit from bonding together over board games or whatever your choice of activity.
Playing board games can teach children important social skills such as taking turns and how to be a good winner or loser. They also learn a lot about interpersonal communication as you talk and laugh together while you play the game.
Do not overlook the many academic benefits children can reap from playing games as well. Even young children learn simple skills such as counting, colors and shapes and as they grow older they learn sorting, matching, and reading skills from games. As children grow older then you can advance to more challenging games that require higher level thinking and reasoning skills.
Today's family usually has a busy schedule that often sends each member bustling off in a different direction much of the week. There are not many occasions when a family actually sits down together for more than the few minutes it takes to eat a meal (and sometimes not even that long). Setting aside a dedicate game night will mean that your family will have a few hours where there are no outside distractions and you are simply focused on enjoying each other. Playing a game takes the pressure off so there is no need to force conversation, but you might be surprised what you learn about and from your children during this time. Even if a rousing game of "Sorry" or "Trouble" does not inspire confidences right away, it will surely give you time to simply enjoy being together and will lead to the type of memories that your children will carry with them throughout their lives. Once your children know that they will have this time with your undivided attention then this will likely become the time when they do test out important questions and confidences.
It is important to set out some important guidelines for this night. It would be great to set aside one night a week, but perhaps it is only possible to hold a game night every two weeks or once a month. The most important element is that you make an effort to be consistent so children can look forward to the night and can rely on it. Second, you must turn off the television (all the TVs in the house) and makes sure the answering machine is on. No answering the phone or door bell (except maybe to collect the pizza). This is family time and family should be the priority. Short of fire, death or dismemberment there is nothing that cannot wait until after your game(s) are done. You should set aside at least one hour when children are younger and two hours when they are older but do not make an announcement of the time to avoid clock watching. The actual games do not matter much as long as they are board or card games. Computer games will not achieve the same results so you should avoid those.
Regular family game nights can reap tremendous benefits. Your children will learn important social skills and academic skills and you will all benefit from bonding together over a fun, relaxing activity. Go ahead and give it a try. You have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.
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