In today’s fast paced society, governed by electronic devices, communication and interaction between family members has diminished. Family game night is the perfect opportunity to turn off the screens and enjoy each other’s company with the added fun of light-hearted competition. Game night is an especially great time for your child to practice important life skills through play.
Game playing strengthens social skills. Your little one will get plenty of practice waiting, sharing, taking turns, and following rules on game night. In addition, game play allows children to learn the art of losing gracefully. Learning to face disappointment without being overwhelmed by emotion and being happy for another player’s win in the face of one’s own loss, are complex skills that even adults struggle with at times. Winning gracefully is another important skill to master. Feeling proud of one’s accomplishment without bragging or making others feel worse about their loss takes practice. Playing games fairly requires honesty. Being honest in the face of disappointment is not always easy, but it is an important skill to learn. Game night is the perfect opportunity for parents to model these important sportsmanship skills, and for children to practice them.
Family game night also strengthens communication skills, as both expressive and receptive language skills are utilized while playing games. Even just teaching someone the rules of a game requires information to be spoken and received. Discussing game strategies or asking questions such as "Whose turn is it?" "How many spaces do I move?" or "Do you have the cards I need?" are common in games. Being comfortable asking questions is critical in game play as well as daily life. Additionally, many games require players to express precise information quickly to win the game.
Playing games also gives your child the opportunity to strengthen fine motor skills. Rolling dice, shuffling cards and moving game pieces, all use the small muscles of the fingers, hands and wrists. Utilizing these small muscles while playing, strengthens finger dexterity as well as hand-eye coordination.Hand-eye coordination involves coordinated control of hand movements with eye movements. Hand-eye coordination is used in many daily activities like writing, typing on a keyboard, using a computer mouse, playing sports, and using a key to unlock a door. As your little one precisely moves their game pieces or shuffles their cards, they are fine tuning the hand-eye coordination they will need as they grow.
In addition, game play stimulates your child’s prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for essential cognitive skills such as problem solving, decision making and strategic thinking. Utilizing strategies to influence a game’s outcome, and making quick decisions are important life skills often practiced while playing games.Further, playing a board game to completion also strengthens your child’s attention span and their ability to focus on a task that requires longer concentration.
Whether you are throwing dice, shuffling cards, winning or losing, family game night will help your child develop life-long skills and create lasting memories. So, what are you waiting for? Get the snacks, gather your family and let the game night fun begin!