Put family game night on the calendar and tally up the positives

The pace is accelerating, and the calendar is filling up with school orientation events, shopping and play dates, practices, games, and other extracurricular events. And that’s just schedules for the kids! Regularly setting aside family time—game night, for example—seems just about impossible, which suggests exactly why it’s so important!

Last year in a post to Intellectual Takeout, titled “Are You Overscheduling Your Child,” Anna Lima quoted Dr. Alvin Rosenfeld, author The Over-scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap, who says, “A cultural phenomenon is taking place where parents are being told that the right way to raise their kids is to involve them in every enrichment opportunity possible, even if it means leaving the entire family anxious and stressed out.”

Lima urges parents to take control of the family calendar. That involves establishing priorities and sometimes saying no to requests and commitments.

Take a look at “Here Are the 7 Reasons Every Family Should Start a Game Night Right Now,” in Kara Carerro’s Extremely Good Parenting blog, and you’ll see compelling reasons for prioritizing as a necessity what otherwise might sound like a luxury. Carerro, who according to her bio, is an author, wife, and mother of 3, with a degree in second education and adolescent childhood development, asks, “Why put off those amazing conversations, the fun teamwork, the laughter and the giggles any longer? Start a new family game night tradition for your family and be prepared to be in awe of how much stronger your family bond feels almost instantly.”

The 7 core reasons she expands on are that it “creates conversation,” starts a tradition, requires teamwork, builds confidence, allows families to “work through the feelings of self-doubt together,” reduces learning stress, and that “playing games boosts brain development in kids.”

Last December, a Dr. Veritas, blogging for the American Academy of Pediatricians, in a post titled “3 Benefits of Family Fun,” describes family games night as among his own favorite growing up memories. He says research shows that sharing family time has many benefits, and three of them are better behavior, less stress, and stronger family bonds. He offers several great ideas, one of them is to “Play together—whether it’s a board game inside or playing tag outside, playing together is a great way to have fun as family.”

To drill down into gaming a bit more specifically, Amber and Andy Ankowski, writing for PBS Parents in “Bringing Back Family Game Night: Expert Tips and Advice,” provide more details behind these great reasons to put family game night on the calendar: "games are good for motor skills,” “games can lead to better grades,” “games help your kids solve problems,” “game night is family bonding night,” and “games are just plain fun!”

Some games that also help teach important skills are Counting Money, Spelling Words, Telling Time, and Making Fractions Learning Sets. Each one comes with 4 double-sided Lotto game boards, 2 sets of game cards, 28 double-sided quiz cards, bold, bright, press-out game pieces, and a 48-page learning pad. Use the sets, which offer an amazing number of options, at home, while traveling, or in the classroom.

Other game options include these fun card games: Memory Match Farm Card Game, Slapjack Farm Card Game, Farm Animal Rummy Card Game, and Dino Dig Card Game. These colorful games build so many skills at once. They help kids recognize matches and improve their concentration and visual memory—important for reading, writing, and lots of everyday activities. Multiplayer games also help build soft skills including cooperation, collaboration, communication, teamwork, and empathy. Tuck a card pack in purse or tote bag for take-anywhere gameplay.

Pencil in family game night as a regular event, and everyone will win!