Print this page Family Game Nights

Family fun: the antidote to busy days

Making a regular time for your family to focus on fun with each other contributes to family bonding and healthy family functioning. Research has shown that parent-child play has positive impacts on many aspects of child development. It helps to develop language skills, attachment among family members, understanding of how to engage effectively in social relationships, exploratory behaviors that kids need to become problem solvers, and much more.

So why not start a fun new tradition in your home by launching a weekly or monthly family game night?

Starting a family game night

If you like the idea of establishing a family game night in your home, the first step is clearing your calendar once a week or once a month or however often you want to set aside for this type of family togetherness. The frequency is less important than the commitment to do it regularly and predictably. You want your kids to look forward to it and to count on it.

Steps for game night success

  • Create a game night routine. Perhaps you clean up dinner dishes together—which is another positive parent-child activity—and put a special game night table cloth on the table. Or you go to a special place in your home for this event. Try to engage your kids in deciding the details of your routine.
  • Choose a game everyone can enjoy. You need a game that will be fun for everyone—whatever their age, abilities, or interests. Some more advanced games can be played by younger kids if they are paired in a ‘team’ with an older child or adult. As much as possible, have the kids take turns picking what game gets played.
  • Avoid interruptions. Turn off the television. Make the rule that phones are not answered, text messages are ignored, and email beeps wait until later. This is family time, and the whole idea is to keep it that way.
  • Focus on fun, not competition. Remember that competition is not the point of family game nights. Laughing together and having a great time is the sole objective. This means that you should set some rules about how people treat each other, like no ridicule or boasting allowed. Everyone must be a good sport—which is one of the ways that play helps build self-regulation and social skills.

Provided By Susan J. Oliver, Tropomedia
This information is provided on behalf of the toy experts at your
neighborhood toy store.