Back to Basics With Board Games: Why I Raised My Kids with Them And Not Video Games

board-gameI remember the time when my husband and I first bought a PlayStation for the kids (the first console, and yes, that was so long ago). It was fun at first. It was nice seeing the look of sheer joy on their faces whenever it was “game time”. A few weeks into it, and we noticed that they spent less and less time with us. It was only until our little one flat out refused to let us play when we decided that we had to bring back board game Saturday, as my husband fondly calls it.

I remember the time when my husband and I first bought a PlayStation for the kids (the first console, and yes, that was so long ago). It was fun at first. It was nice seeing the look of sheer joy on their faces whenever it was “game time”. A few weeks into it, and we noticed that they spent less and less time with us. It was only until our little one flat out refused to let us play when we decided that we had to bring back board game Saturday, as my husband fondly calls it.

Not All That Bad

I’m not saying that video games are the enemy. In fact, studies show that they actually help improve hand-eye coordination, decision making, enhance creativity, and math skills. A lot of these games are built on strategy and logic. This makes it a great supplementary tool to honing your child’s brain. However, like everything else, it has its downsides too.

The Missing Piece

The biggest problem we had with our children playing video games was their lack of socializing when they’re so immersed in it. Even if they were playing with other kids, their focus (as well as the focus of the other kids) was on the game, rather than their playmates. I suppose it had a lot to do with the fact that the game was on the TV screen. But even so, there was very little opportunity for actual interaction among the kids especially when they were “in the zone”.

The Key Difference

When we brought back board game Saturday, despite the many protests and cries of “lame” from our kids, we saw one vital difference. They paid more attention to us than the board. One advantage or disadvantage (depending on how you look at it) with playing a board game is the fact that the game is right in the middle of your group. Since the board games we played were strategic and highly competitive; the kids had to learn how to pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues of the other players (i.e. me and my husband). They learned how to read people better. But more than that, they learned to converse with other people in the group while one is taking time “strategizing”. Mission accomplished for us, in tricking our kids to learn how to socialize better.

It Was Good For Us Too

Of course, we knew that the games would help shape our children’s minds as well as their characters. What we did not expect was that it would help us as well. There was one month when every Saturday we’d play word games. Our ever-competitive children, who take after both parents, wanted a chance to beat us so they started memorizing 3 words per day in the dictionary. It definitely increased their chances of winning, but the competitive side in me and my husband struck and we started reading books again, to refresh on fresh vocabulary words and grammar. Looking back, it helped both of us in our jobs in the long run. My husband had more bits of information to talk about with clients, my memory and retention of information improved, and overall we felt like we had better focus.

I can go on forever about how these board games improve critical thinking, sportsmanship, creativity, and self-confidence. You probably know about most of those board game benefits. My point is simple, board game Saturday didn’t just help our kids become smarter, stronger, and better people. It helped our family as a whole become all those things, and, more importantly become closer than ever. I hope this inspires a few parents to make your own board game traditions at home. Happy Playing!

Here are cool board games to check out!

Clue-Board-GameClue Alfred Hitchcock Edition

Hero-QuestHeroQuest Game System

Pirates-Caribbean-ChessPirates of the Caribbean Chess (in a Box)

PowerPuffGirls-Board-GamePowerpuff Girls Board Game

ScoobyDoo-Board-GameScooby Doo Clue Board Game

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