Mum’s the word: Board games bring our family together and gift us life lessons

Mum’s the word: Board games bring our family together and gift us life lessons

In an attempt to have less screen time for all of us in our household,coupled with the evenings getting longer and colder, my daughter, hubby and I have rediscovered the love of board games.

It started one evening after we made a few requests for Joan to turn off her tablet and do something else. She eventually did then turned to us and said: “Now what?”

As I have said in this column before we do monitor her screen time and she is pretty good as a single kid at picking up different activities to do, like making slime, playing with LOLs and lots and lots of art, to occupy herself.

But that particular night she lay down the gauntlet to us to also put our phones down.

My hubby and I sat there for a moment then he said: “Let’s play a game!”

That evening we ended up playing several rounds of Monopoly (I didn’t win a single one for the record), Snakes and Ladders and a few rounds of crazy eights.

Without too much effort over the past few weeks, most nights it has just become part of the routine to set up a game of some sort after dinner for a short while before we get ready to go to bed.

And you know what, my always losing aside, it has been so much fun!

We have really connected as a family more as a result.

We have definitely laughed a lot more and it is the time of day when we find more comes out about Joan’s day.

Instead of the usual post-school questions:

How was it today?” “What did you learn?” “Did you have fun?

Being met with the usual nondescript answers, we are starting to hear more about things that actually happened during the day and stuff that she has felt good about or not so good about.

Another positive is all the “learning” that is coming out of playing as well, without Joan being mindful that skills she’s currently tackling in school are coming into play as well. Monopoly, in particular, has helped with her reading, thanks to Chance cards! And, of course, math, as she is the family banker.

Cards also are a brilliant way to help kids work with numbers and, again, its all subconscious unlike fighting over getting homework done. We introduced a lot of different card games this summer when we were on holidays, with no TV or WIFI and Joan loved it and never tired of it. Plus she totally forgot about her tablet.

We are discovering new games that appeal to all of us like Exploding Kittens “it’s like Uno, with goats, magical enchiladas and kittens that can kill you!” It’s hilarious and great fun.

Jumanji is another recent board game we got and I will admit the rules escape me a little (like rugby), but I still really enjoy playing it and there is a lot of reading and logistics in the game to help Joan too.

Along with all the card games we played as kids it has been so nostalgic to play the Game of Life and Connect Four with Joan. Those games in particular really remind me of summer evenings of my childhood with cousins, parents, aunts and uncles sitting around our porch table altogether.

And it is only going to get better as we graduate from the current board games she likes to more complex ones. It is a great reminder for all of us that we can create our own entertainment instead of relying on phones, TV’s and tablets. Also, I feel it is so important in teaching the valuable lesson of, you win some, you lose some. And I might be talking more to myself here than Joan!

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