Between soccer, T-ball, swimming lessons and play dates, my son Jack and I spend a lot of time together, but when I think about how much of it is really quality time, I get a little sad. He doesn’t just want me to be there, he wants me to play with him. In an effort to connect better, I’ve decided to set up a recurring appointment in my calendar each week – Friday night is now Game Night!
Games are not only a wonderful way to connect with our kids of all ages, but playing games can also reinforce life lessons. Through some trial and error, here are my tips for making a successful night of togetherness.
- Schedule “Game Night” in your appointment book, Blackberry or iPhone. We all know life creeps in on family time unless we make a formal appointment. Of course, once the games begin, turn off all those devices so you can be 100% present.
- Plan ahead. Stock the playroom with age-appropriate board games, interactive video games like Nintendo Wii or even an electric dart board. Don’t forget to check out garage sale listings in eBay Classifieds’ Community section for sweet deals on all kinds of games.
- Playing games can teach kids about patience, sharing and taking turns. So you need to take the lead on this and demonstrate good sportsmanship and good humor!
- Game Night is all about having fun, so if the kids get tired after a short time, put them to bed so they look forward to the next Friday night. No need to overdo it!
- Mix it up and take Game Night outside! Summer is here and playing a little T-ball or a round of Frisbee golf is a great way to spend a warm evening.
- What’s a Friday night without fun food? Each week, have a different family member choose the dessert or snack of the week. This will help the kids feel more involved in the planning of your special evening together.
Right now, one of Jack’s favorite games is Hot and Cold, which we play over and over. After his recent pirate birthday party, we had dozens of shiny bead necklaces left over. Grandma and Jack hid a treasure under a bush and dropped necklaces in a winding trail through the backyard. When I came home from work, Jack was squealing with excitement to have me follow the necklaces and find the treasure.
Family traditions make bonding connections that last a lifetime. Having a Friday Game Night may even be a tradition that your children will pass along to their future kids!