The American family is consumer driven, which is only interested in having the newest and most exciting forms of technology. American families tend to put too much importance on commercial items. As children get older, they spend more time with their gadgets than their parents. As a parent, it is easy to replace face time with technology, but in the long run we are missing out on the most important time of our children’s lives.
My daughter is about to be five years old, and my husband and I have started a family game night. Each week we take turns choosing a game to play as a family. Besides the laughs and fun we have playing the game, we are also actively stimulating our daughter’s mind. All games have some sort of educational benefit that are very helpful for young children. Most early games cover counting, number recognition, colors, and even letters. Playing board games with young children also teach about following rules, taking turns, and patience.
As children get older family game night will have more importance to keeping a family close rather than playtime. During a weekly game time older children will be more excited to keep a schedule, finish homework, and any chores that may need to be completed before the game begins. During game time this is a great time for parents to catch up with their children. Families may speak on a daily basis, but as children get older the amount of information they give out will diminish. By the time a child has reached the teen years getting information from them is more like pulling teeth!
When children feel relaxed and comfortable with their family information seems to flow smoother, and more truthful. I am not saying that all children lie, or that they are hiding information from their parents. Sometimes something that may seem minor or insignificant to the child, may actually be a red flag for an attentive parent. The earlier a game night is started, the weekly tradition can actually keep a family closer together. Being actively involved in your child’s life from an early point will help keep the lines of communication open. Having a child feel they can speak to their parents on any topic is a path to a healthy loving relationship.
Schedules in today’s world are very tight, and it may seem that keeping to a weekly game night may be impossible. As children get older and take on more responsibility working around each other’s schedule is the best way to show your growing child respect, and understanding of prioritizing time. As a parent saying the time is not available is not a good signal to send to a growing child that is yearning for attention. Even if game night is only monthly there is still going to be a great impact. I would recommend playing more than one game to help open the lines of communication with your child if game night is less than weekly.
We are in the modern age, and many games can now be played on the television. This means that the whole family can be in front of the television, comfortable, and able to move freely without dealing with little pieces and cleanup. There are plenty of ways to keep your family together. Starting a tradition early will create consistency, which children need. Finding a way that will work for your family is the key! Love your children, and help keep American families strong!