This is a guest post by Denise Bossard. Thanks Denise!
How Hectic is Your Schedule?
Does your busy schedule jeopardize family dinners? Do you find it difficult finding time to spend together as a family? In today’s society how can we make quality family time a priority every night and still maintain our required evening rituals (we all have them)? Try initiating family game night as a replacement for or compliment to family dinners.
My husband and I have fond memories of eating dinner and spending time with our families each night. While our day was spent apart, each night we all congregated at the dinner table to share our day’s adventures with family members. I also have not so fond memories of slipping my green beans in a napkin and the desperate move of asking to be excused to go to the restroom with a mouth full of something green. Of course, my parents grew wise to these tricks in short order.
Even though I do not insist that my children finish eating their vegetables, it is very important for us to spend family time every night just as our parents did with my husband and me. (Just for the record, our kids do not receive a sweet snack the next day if they fail to eat their vegetables.) So, how can we ensure that we have the important family time given our hectic schedules?
Most week nights it is 7:00 before my husband walks in the door from work. With an hour commute each way plus his 9 hour work day, we really struggle to sit down and eat dinner as a family. Our kindergartener and 2nd grader are in bed by 8:00 most nights. In order for them to function properly the next day (defined as no meltdowns without proper cause), bedtime is not negotiable. Most week nights, we have a window of approximately one hour to spend quality time as a family.
My husband and I came up with a perfect solution to our dilemma – family game nights! Because their bellies begin grumbling about 5:00, our children and I typically eat around 6:00. We then read books for about 20 minutes and take a bath (not necessarily in that order). When my husband comes home we often spend about 30 minutes playing a game as a family. Our choice of game varies but most nights we choose a game that we created called Er-u-di-tion. Of course we are biased, but really the decision is based upon our desire to foster our children’s education.
Games Provide Great Benefits
Our son is in second grade and a fluent reader, while our daughter is in kindergarten and an emergent reader. One of the skills they are learning in their respective curriculums is to recognize, comprehend and spell sight words. We created Er-u-di-tion to expose children to both phonics and sight words while they play a fun board game. The game cards are color coded to promote mutual play by kids with varying reading skills. In addition, each sight word card includes the word’s definition and syllabication to aid players in comprehension and pronunciation. Click here to learn more about our sight words game.
Other games that are popular game night choices include Scramble, Yahtzee and Monopoly (which typically takes us a week to finish). These games, as well as Er-u-di-tion, teach educational related skills while creating fond family memories. Games also instill important social skills such as interacting with others. Players learn to share, take turns, patiently wait and win without gloating (always a difficult lesson for our son and me). Then there is graciously accepting defeat. We consider this lesson learned if you can shake your opponent’s hand without squeezing it hard enough to inflict pain. While playing a game you are teaching your children to talk and laugh together. You are also enhancing social and academic skills while enjoying quality time together.