Before starting a family (or when I had an extraordinarily young family), I used to practice New Year’s resolution trends like many younger and older adults! My resolutions were focused on myself of course, and always fixated on healthy or financially beneficial ideas. Now that my munchkins are older though, I’ve become accustomed to including them in my new resolution musings. When I decide to eat healthier, spend more time outside, exercise, or keep my life more organized, I inadvertently increase the benefits to them as well. A family shares the welfares of one another it seems!
This year though, my family is going to start a new resolution that was always meant to incorporate the whole! We did brainstorm together what the resolution would entail and many ideas cropped up during our family briefing: helping each other keep our rooms clean, going on more family outings, eating more chocolate (Polar Bear’s idea), and watching more dinosaur movies (Grizzly Bear) each made the list. We finally settled on a splendid idea that made everyone happy – Family Game Night!
And here’s why:
It’s true that quality time trumps quantity. With the busy life that twins parenthood, making time to spend together as a whole is very difficult. We are often multitasking when we do get together: my older son tells me about his day while I make supper, my younger son and I put a puzzle together while I keep scanning my emails on my phone, and my husband and I try to do things together but often do them apart, like walking the dog or going to the store (for the sake of convenience). Much of our time is eaten up with responsibilities – but fear not! Research has shown that quality time is much more beneficial to family life than the quantity!
Putting in a few hours of undivided, positive, and passionate time with your children has the greater potential to benefit them in their later years. A study published by the Journal of Marriage and Family indicated a very feeble connection exists between the amount of time parents spend with their children and their children’s emotional, academic, and behavioural development. Shockingly, the greater the time spent with children had little impact on them, and even affected them negatively if the parent was anxious, sleep-deprived, or stressed. However, the connection between quality time and positive development was very strong, indicating that children may flourish developmentally when the interactive parent is truly there (mind and body) with a positive and encouraging attitude. To check it out for yourself, click here.
Games for Preschoolers
So now that we’ve settled on a New Year’s resolution that has obvious benefits, what kinds of games are suitable for young children that can’t read? We were certainly not about to pull out Scrabble! But we did come up with some very promising games through a little more research and our own childhood reminiscing! Here are a couple of game ideas we came up with to get us started for our weekly game nights as a family:
· Twister – A game that’s extraordinarily active and full of funny positions is sure to make it to the top of the preschooler pile of fun nights! We received this game as a gift over the holidays and our boys just love it! It also gives them a chance to be in charge and increase their confidence as they can take a turn spinning the wheel and directing others! We played with all kids and adults alike and it was a hoot!
· Operation – A game of silly skills as you take turns playing doctor! This game is also a giant boost in the fine motor skills department as little ones are encouraged to pick up small objects with tweezers! This game is currently on the way to our house and I know it will bring all kinds of laughs!
· Jenga – Another unbeatable game when it comes to problem solving and fine motor skills! Jenga has all the pieces to give the family a laugh and I bet our kids will love it when we bust this one out later this year!
· Guess Who – This game involves some critical thinking as your child tries to guess which character card you are pretending to be! I believe this will be perfect for my older son as he tries to detect his way towards winning! We will also add this game to our weekly rotation when we get it!
· Bingo – My extended family introduced my children to this game a few weeks ago and they both love it! My older son is quite good at reading individual letters and numbers now and we hand-make personalized bingo cards (printed from Word) to help him maintain his skills. My younger son adores the bingo dabber and enjoys playing in teams so that he can continue to develop his skills as well! We also personalize his card with shapes to give him the winning edge!
· Perfection – We’ve had Perfection in the home for a little while now and it’s undoubtedly my younger son’s favourite game! It’s a more advanced and intricate shape sorter than baby toys and adds the fun as we all try to race time before it pops all the pieces back out at us! A great game for any budding child and devoted parent!
· Snakes and Ladders – Lastly, a final classic that is sure to be the first board game in any home. This timeless game of trying to race your opponents to the top helps kids learn to count and complete simple math while using dice. My older son loves this game and he is quite the little teacher as he tries to help his younger brother count too, leading by example when we show him! It’s a very inspiring evening when we play this game.
All of these games are sure to make our family quality time the best and most beneficial weekly activity we undertake for our young children and I hope these ideas benefit your families as well!
As Always, With You in Mind
I hope these game ideas inspire you and your family as they have mine. Please feel free to chime in with your favourite family games or New Year’s resolution! We can all use good ideas to keep our families happy and healthy!
And most of all, Happy New Year to you and yours!