By Jaimi Erickson
Winter weather provides the perfect excuse to plan a family game night. We won’t miss anything on the news by turning it off for a night. Kids crave quality time with us. Playing a board game as a family teaches me so much about my children.
Family game night provides fun, casual time where the kids open up. There is something about being gathered as a family around the table that eases stress and encourages kids to share. When my children know they have my attention, they open up.
While playing games, we have had conversations about deep topics. For instance, when they share about what happened with their friends at the playground, deeper conversations can stem from interactions they’ve had with their friends. It is an opportunity not to find fault but to solidify our family’s values. In these seemingly small moments, we teach so much.
The smiles, eye contact, and laughter are what I notice most. We all could have just had a disagreement about what was for dinner, but afterward — when we’re gathered around the table — we are a team. Together our connections get stronger.
Of course, there are the more spirited moments, too! My super-competitive child reels at any potential chance of losing a game of Go Fish. She has that focus and intensity that reveals her inner strengths. Her two brothers just egg her on. It causes us all to marvel and try to calm her down.
We get to discuss sportsmanship, patience and humility in these moments. Even my other children will chime in with statements like, “It is just a game!” Hearing them guide each other to more positive behavior is a precious moment.
It’s this kind of quality time that can happen, even though we are not always looking for it. Family game night can foster solid family connections and lessons we’ll all carry with us for the years to come. Playing games may be what we’re doing, but it’s the quality time together as a family that is the real benefit.