In today's hectic pace, a family game night can be more of a luxury. But a mere 20 minutes of family time around the table can promote family togetherness.
Recently, Hasbro commissioned a study by Dr. Christine Carter on family game night activities and opinions on family time. According to this study, more than 75 percent of families say they want more time together. It seems that families who play together feel closer and have a positive mood boost.
While I know that a family game night would benefit my family, finding the time and energy to put it on the calendar is the first step in the process. I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Christine Carter, a happiness expert, sociologist and parent educator based out of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. Here are a few ideas and tips that she suggested to make my next game night a success.
What's your biggest rule for family game night?
Ditch the electronics. How can you focus on each other when someone's face is constantly in the screen of a smartphone? Make a rule for your next family game night - no electronics. Put the phones, tablets and any other distractions in a bin by the door. For the entire game time, electronics are off limits. Take the moment to re-connect with an actual conversation with the people around you.
How much time should you devote to a family game night?
Family game night doesn't have to be a huge time commitment. One idea is to extend dinner time by 10-20 minutes. The idea is to spend quality time together. It's about the commitment not the duration. Also, it is helpful to put game night on the schedule. If it makes the family calendar, no one can make alternate plans.
How can you get everyone involved?
Find games that everyone in the family can enjoy. Hasbro offers a wide selection of games that can be played by a large range of ages. Another option to make it more enjoyable is to play as teams. Older players can help the younger ones with the game. The idea is to have fun and promote togetherness.
How do you deal with cheating?
Eliminate the skill factor. Games of chance or luck like Uno or Sorry can lessen the cheating problem. Another option is to eliminate scoring. The idea is to promote fun and togetherness rather than focus on winning a game.
What are some interesting facts from the study?
91% of those polled said playing games gives their family's mood a positive boost. Parents who care out a few minutes of each week to play face-to-face games significantly impact their family dynamic for the better. 96% of families who play games together feel close. "Even though today's families are crazy busy, they still want to feel close knit and they long for quality time together.
After my conversation with Dr. Carter, I am convinced that family time and family game night can benefit my kids in many ways. From good sportsmanship to better communication, the benefits are great. This holiday season my family will be committed to a family game night. Are you ready to make the commitment with me?
Disclosure: I received the opportunity to interview Dr. Carter. I was not compensated for my time. I may receive a product from Hasbro.