Playing Board Games is a Win-Win
Playing board games at any age:
- Brings people closer and strengthens relationships
- Increases brain function
- Teaches how to set goals and be patient
- Reduces stress and makes for laughter
- Enhances creativity and self-confidence
We LOVE board games! If you walk into my house – you are sure to find a board game open on one of the tables. My daughter and my husband are constantly playing one game or the other. Both go about doing what they need to do. Studying – cooking – cleaning – going to work or school and coming back – and so on. And as when they feel like it, they make a move in the game.
If my daughter has made a move, she then informs her dad that a move has been made – and asks him to make his next move. This is sometimes done via a text – if he is not at home. He sometimes excitedly comes back to the table and makes the next move (or suggests it on via text). Or, if he is busy and cannot do that – he may even ask her to make a move on his behalf to keep the game going.
Board games are a great connection tool in our house. And my daughter has devised this way to stay connected with her surgeon-dad who is frequently being called away to the hospital to attend to emergencies. In our house, we don’t play because we are going to win or lose – we play because it is so much fun.
I always recommend board games at all my workshops and consultations because of the many wonderful things they do for children (and adults). But a lot of times parents are not able to make their children like board games – even though they want to pass on their love for them.
If you are starting to play a board game with your toddler, pre-schooler, elementary school aged child or even older – keep these three things in mind:
- Don’t play to win or lose.
- In the early years children are just beginning to develop their sense of self. They are trying to estimate their own worth and ability. At this time, they should be loved and valued for who they are and not what they do.
- Focus on how much fun you are having while playing with your child instead of whether they are winning or losing at the game. When you do that, you will build their self-esteem.
- Let your child make the rules (even if those rules allow your child to win).
- For a child the only one real difference between play and work is – that during play the child in control.
- Focus only on helping your child feel in control by making the rules. Don’t worry about teaching them about the real world and how tough it is. They will have enough opportunities to learn that during work.
- Let your child end the game whenever they want.
- Children have a short attention span and may not be able to play the game until the end.
- Don’t force them to continue if they don’t want to play. Allow them to convert the game into a pretend tea party or a pretend bus ride if they want to. Remind yourself that it does not matter what you are playing. The only thing that matters is – that you are connected through play.
It is important to keep in mind what play really means to children and what they hope to gain from engaging in play with you – before you start playing with your child.
Otherwise, children will dislike playing and get hooked on to devices.
And this will mean they're losing out on the million wonderful things that play can do for them.