As parents, I think we will all do almost anything to get our children to approach bedtime willingly. When my oldest child became a toddler, bedtime grew to be especially challenging (it seemed to take FOREVER to get her to sleep!), so I decided to adjust our evening routine to help her, and the rest of the family, with the transition to bedtime. After a bit of trial and error, I found success by beginning our family game tradition - it was such a small change, but it literally turned one of the most daunting parts of our day into one of the best parts of our day! After dinner, the entire family gathers in our upstairs playroom for our "family game time," before it is time for our kids to take baths and go to bed. This has become a part of the day that our family looks forward to, and it allows our children to calm down so they are ready for bedtime.
Our family game time not only helps our children to settle down and prepare for bedtime, but it ensures that we spend quality time together every day. In an age with so many high-tech distractions, I believe it is critical and so beneficial for families to unplug and find quality "screen free" time to spend together and connect with each other. This part of our day could easily be named "HABA game time" as well, since those are our favorite games!
I was thrilled to discover HABA games (I could probably be the president of their fan club if they had one!) because my daughter was only a toddler when we started this routine, and it is challenging to find quality games that are appropriate to play as a family with such a young child - many games are either too complex or have small pieces that present a choking hazard. HABA has a wonderful line of games, called "My Very First Games," which are appropriate for children as young as two years old. They are sturdy with large, colorful pieces and themes that are simple enough for a toddler to understand. The first game we purchased from this line was "My Very First Orchard," and it is still a family favorite after almost three years (I highly recommend this game to anyone with young children - it also makes a wonderful gift!)
In addition, the games help foster important skills in children - the HABA games help even very young children learn academic skills such as numbers, counting and colors, as well as critical social skills such as working together, taking turns, and establishing and following rules. Even as we have "graduated" into some of the games for older children, the HABA games always seem to have an open-ended element to them that allows us to creatively adjust the rules to a child's skill level or preference. Of course it is not the most important reason to select a game, but I also have to admit that these high quality games look adorable in the playroom, which does make them more appealing since I always leave several of them out on our shelves for easy access!
If you are new to HABA games or interested in starting a family game tradition of your own, below are a few of my recommendations by age group:
Pre-K and Elementary School: Hearts Memory Game (we gave this to my daughter for Valentine's Day instead of candy and it was a big hit!), Pirates Memory Game, Who Am I?, Clumsy Witch (we play a LOT of this game near Halloween!), Dancing Eggs Game
I hope this inspires you to enjoy some quality game time together as a family!About the Author Jennifer Driscoll lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their two daughters, Mia and Stella. She also teaches mind-body fitness classes and enjoys reading, writing, crafting, cooking and having fun with family and friends!