Each time I see my children playing games as a family I am in awe of their boundless energy and how they’re never tired of turning the whole house upside down.
In the beginning, I tried to stop them; I was afraid they would hurt themselves. But my efforts were in vain. Most of the time, all they wanted to do was play, play and play some more.
And then someone suggested that I introduced family games so that every member of the house could participate. It turned out to be a wonderful idea.
Apart from offering us the chance to spend quality time together, these family games provided many more benefits than we envisaged at the beginning.
Below are the top seven benefits of family games.
Family Games Improve Bonding
Studies have shown that children from families who engage in regular social gatherings like playing games have better relationships with peers and generally a better emotional well-being.
No matter what game we play, our familial bonds are strengthened each time we are with our children. The bonding leads to stronger ties and more effective interactions.
Examples of such games are Basketball, Capture the Flag, Scrabble and Soccer.
Another benefit I’ve derived from playing games with my children is an improvement of our children’s communicate skills.
Because games require a lot of communication. It provides many avenues for children to hone their communication skills.
Research has shown that children continue to use the languages their environments introduce to them during play. And long after the play period is over, they still use these languages.
Yes, I know you’ve heard the saying that when children are born, their minds are tabula rasa, that is, a clean slate. This ‘clean slate’ needs to be filled with essential information and skills as quickly as possible.
Scientists have told us that a child’s brain is wired to learn certain skills at specific periods. If a particular skill isn’t learned at the appropriate time, the part of the brain responsible for that kind of learning slowly dies. and it becomes difficult for the child to learn that skill again.
Playing games is a great way of encouraging children to explore and expand their knowledge base.
There are so many games that can help children in building specific skills that are useful to their academics. Research has shown that academic activities like vocabulary, math, spelling, and general knowledge improve with participation in games.
One research from Carnegie Mellon revealed that playing academic games can lead to excellent results in the classroom. Children who participated in simple games had quantifiable improvements in some learning skills.
I think the best thing about playing together as a family, is that the experience, especially for children is so enjoyable that they do not realize they are learning.
Children do not see play as a task or chore, but they can learn so much from doing it. Through play, children can learn cooperation, respect, strategy, scheduling, patience, and teamwork.
My favourite family game is the Redux version of the Capture the Flag game. It is always a lot of fun sprinting in the dark with the lighted orb while trying to coordinate the team’s strategy. And of course, you have to keep the orb from the opponent. It’s a great way to learn cooperation, teamwork, scheduling and perseverance.
It is important to ensure that children acquire relevant social skills so as to enable them to succeed in our competitive world.
Children who lack the requisite social skills find it very hard to adapt to life in civilized societies. The consequences are dire. Depression, misery, hopelessness and dejection are all a direct result of a lack of requisite social skills.
Playing games with your family is a great avenue to begin the process of social interaction. The skills the children will learn from these interactions will come handy in their schools and workplaces where they are sure to be exposed to other people.
A child with a solid social skill is more likely to withstand the conflict that is bound to arise from interaction with his peers. If a child has not been taught to interact positively with others, he is likely to react negatively when confronted by other children.
As the old saying goes, ‘when children are not doing anything, they are doing mischief’.
Children have boundless energy, and experience has taught me that it is hard, almost impossible to keep up with them. There are so many objects at home which you think are harmless until the children get hold of them.
Playing games with your family is a positive outlet for the children to channel their energy. Knowing where the children are and seeing what they are doing gives you the peace of mind that they will not get into trouble
I still remember some of the unsupervised plays we had as children and I shudder at some of the risks we took without knowing the dangers we were exposing ourselves to.
Problem-solving skills are indispensable to the survival of every human being Every day human beings are faced with many challenges that require critical thinking skills to be solved.
Playing games with your family is a good opportunity for you to demonstrate practical ways of solving problems to your children which they can study from and follow.
These exposures to problem-solving games will give your children a deep understanding of how things work.
Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam writes creative non-fiction and prose fiction. Her works have appeared in Romance Meets Life, Flash Fiction Press, MTLS, Saraba Magazine, Sentinel Magazine and others. Her first novel, Finding Love Again, was published by Ankara Press. She owns and manages Creative Writing News.