While the grunts and groans in response to your daily interrogations about how the school day went may seem like communication, the truth is that finding shared activities and accomplishments can increase family connections, and even improve things like communication. So if you’re ready to organize a family game night in your household, here are some tips on how to pull it all together.
Make it a tradition – Set a night of the week and make it your weekly family game night. Perhaps you can alternate Friday nights between movie and game night every other week. Before long, you may find that both you and your kids are looking forward to the chance to take each other on, and you need to designate a separate day of the week for game time.
Choose Games Together – Whether you want to go with a democratic vote or rotate the family member in charge of the picking the game every week, make the game selection itself a fun party of family game night. Consider a competition the week before, or maybe rewards for chores being done. And take a trip to the toy aisle together and work together as a family to choose a fun game.
Make sure everyone is comfortable – Either gather round the kitchen table to put pillows on the ground, but make sure everyone has a comfortable area and space to sit, because ideally you’ll be playing for at least an hour together, if not more.
Provide healthy finger foods and drinks – There’s gonna be snacking going on during game night, and while chips and appetizers are delicious, make sure to provide apple slices, carrots and hummus or other healthy alternatives that can easily be grabbed and munched on the go. Make some lemonade, or even lemon water, and have a pitcher close by so no one needs to leave the action to go restock.
Declare it a no-tech zone – It won’t kill you, or your kids, to put down the phones and stop texting or checking e-mail a bit. Focus on the family and fun, and make a rule that there’s no using your phones or other devices while playing. Put them all together in a special bag or place, and make sure everyone sticks to the rule.
Mix Up The Teams – While it’s fun to have mom and dad vs. the kids from time to time, mix up the teams so that everyone gets a chance to play with, and against, each other. Invite neighbors, friends or other relatives over from time to time, as well.
Make Awards – Whether it’s a traveling trophy or special recognition on the refrigerator, keep a prize going from week to week to make sure you are battling for more than just pride. Kids will love competing for a tangible benefit, and it’s also a great teaching opportunity to learn about lessons associated with winning and losing. You can also have other prizes for things such as “Best Teammate” or “Funniest Moment” that you award every time you play.