Child and mother's hands play a game of Jenga indicating bonding

Promoting Development with Family Game Night

Aside from the obvious benefit of family bonding, a game night actually develops important skills in your children. From motor skills to lessons in self-regulation, the rewards of engaging in this weekly practice will compel you to pull out the board games right away!

  1. Educational Benefits — Many games actually exercise academic skills your child will need in school. Counting spaces, reading cards, and exercising language skills are all common practices when playing some of the most popular games.
  2. Problem Solving — Playing games does wonders for strengthening problem solving skills because you’re constantly trying to solve the problem of how to win! How many more spaces do I need? How can I place the block just right? Who can I eliminate first? It’s a fun way to think creatively.
  3. Motor Skills — Very young children get the opportunity to exercise their motor skills when they roll the dice, stack blocks, shuffle the deck, and manipulate their pieces on a board.
  4. Social Skills — Games require cooperation. There’s no game if the group can’t agree to function in a certain way. Things like turn taking, deciding who goes first, and practicing good sportsmanship are all great for practicing social skills that will serve them well later in life.
  5. Self-Regulation — Hand in hand with social skills, playing games allows children to practice self-regulation strategies. Kids have to find a way to muster up the patience to wait their turn, manage their disappointment when they lose, and consider others when they play on a team. Playing games is a great way to teach lessons about self-regulation in a positive light, rather than when they’ve done something wrong and are being reprimanded for it.

What are Some Good Rules for Family Game Night?

  • Make sure the game is inclusive to all of your children. You want to find something that both the younger and older children can enjoy.
  • Make it a ritual. Pick the same night each week so that, no matter what happens in everyone’s day to day, the family knows there’s a time to look forward to in which you all come together.
  • Turn off electronics. Sure, we can easily enforce this rule upon our children. But make sure adults put their phones away, too. Our modern lives are filled with distractions that often can’t be helped. Let game night be a sacred time where family bonding is the priority.
  • Enforce sportsmanship expectations. Be clear about behavior expectations and model them yourself. No name-calling, huffing, or whining are a few basic rules that will keep game night enjoyable.
  • Have fun! Keep it light to ensure that this is something the family looks forward to. Put on some music, set out the snacks, and let the good times roll!