I love spending time with my family but as a work-at-home-mom I find it hard to stay fully engaged. I find myself checking emails more often than I’d like to. A study recently done showed that 76% of families aren’t satisfied with the amount of quality time they’re spending together and 61% admit to having a hard time disconnecting from tech devices so it looks like I’m not alone in my feelings!
Here are some great tips for making family game night a reality from Dr. Christine Carter, a happiness expert, sociologist and parent educator based out of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:
• Extend dinner by 20 minutes to include a family game – Sixty-three percent of respondents said that the easiest time of day for them to schedule family time is between 5pm-7pm. Knowing this, try to extend family dinner time by 20 minutes so that you can fit in some face-to-face game play around the table. This game time will boost family mood and teach kids numerous life lessons. Then clean up as a family, too – the losing team does the dishes!• Schedule it – Decide in advance which day of the week will be your weekly family game night. Use stickers or a colored marker to help make the chosen night stand out on the calendar and then be consistent, so that family game night becomes a ritual that is anticipated by the whole family.
• Don’t keep score or automatically let kids win – Although rivalries can be really fun (47 percent of those polled said the fiercest rivalries were between parents and kids during family game play) they can obscure the benefits of family game night. Once everyone is enjoying the process and fun of playing games together—without obsessing over who is winning or losing—then go back to keeping score to teach the important skill of winning and losing gracefully.
• Have something for everyone – Make sure your home has a selection of games that work for everyone in your family, no matter their age—and don’t feel compelled to play games that bore you. Family game night can be fun for everyone. There are games that are engaging for adults that even little kids can play, like Operation, Monopoly and Scrabble, which are perfect for kids 8 and up, and can also be fun for the whole family.
• Be the fun family in your neighborhood – As kids get older, time with their peers becomes more important to them than time with their family. Don’t let these priorities conflict! Instead, encourage kids to invite a friend or two to come to your family game night. Let the teens choose the food and the music (but check their smart phones and devices at the door!). On weekends, plan for game night extensions, allowing teens to continue play without parents and younger siblings.
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(Disclosure: This post is not compensated however I have worked with Hasbro in the past. Thoughts are my own.)