There is literally no day in our farmhouse that our kids don’t ask, ‘Mom, can we play a game…?’ With game I mean, the real off-line games. They love it. Obsessed, might be the right word. Our cupboard is stacked with all sorts of games, card games, board games, thinking games, puzzles, you name it.
But here’s my confession. I don’t like games. And I’m reluctant to say ‘yes’ every time they ask. As a kid I hated playing games. Mostly because I couldn’t sit still long enough – yes I’m one of those – and some of them take soo long :-).
Remember Monopoly? That game that takes foreeeever and all you do is going round and round and round a board? Our kids love it. Luckily Ouma bought them the card version, which takes only 20 minutes to finish.
Many mornings the first sentence I hear from our little redhead is ‘do you want to play a game with me?’ My default response is ‘No, I’m too busy!’ or any other excuse I could find.
One morning I had a wakeup call. Suddenly I realised… it’s only 20 minutes, and it makes him the happiest child of the world.
So rather than saying ‘no’, I started saying ‘yes’.
And here’s what happened. Instead of my child whining around me, trying to get my attention, feeling rejected and ignored, I got a happy child. I filled his love bucket straight away. So now he knows he is loved, and he is confident to move on into the rest of the day.
Of course it is not always possible to do it right there and then. If that’s the case I would set a time and come back to it asap.
But filling his bucket is only one of the benefits for my kids.
Here are 5 reasons why I should actually embrace playing games more:
They say that a Family that Plays Together, Stays Together. Spending time together over a game builds memories. It is a wonderful time to connect, and laugh – or cry if they loose, still need to work on that one – and be together.
Danny Silk wrote in his book Loving Our Kids On Purpose that ‘every child wants to hear love’. But each child hears it differently. He elaborates on Chapman’s 5 Love Languages and explains you either do it right and build a connection with your child, or you do it wrong and that will cause a disconnect.
I figured out quickly with some help of this test that our kids must have “quality time” as a love language. They just love hanging out together.
But the key is to find what they love to do. Not what I love to do.
And at the Baas-residence, they just LOOOVEE games. So here I sit. With my cuppa tea… and play monopoly.
Reason 3: Social Emotional Skills
Playing games has more benefits though. Next to building connections with my kids, they learn communication and conflict resolutions skills. They learn to win and loose, take turns, share and being honest.
Reason 4: Cognitive Skills
For a lot of games you need some reasoning and logic to win the game. It boosts their critical thinking and vocabulary as they try to work the game out. And what about money skills, counting and reading. Playing the Monopoly board game has helped my reluctant reader tremendously. He was determined to read his own quests, count his own money and find his own streets 😉
Reason 5: My own credibility
I watched this amazing Ted Talk of Shonda Rhimes about ‘My year of saying yes to everything’. It completely opened my eyes for what I’m doing when I say no. How I’m pushing my kids out, saying what I’m doing now is more important than them. I don’t want to be a no-sayer. Understand me right, sometimes you do have to say no, and I will, but many times I say no, it’s because of my own lack of priorities… excuses, excuses.
It made me realise I can do it!!
I’m thankful for my mind shift. It has brought more love in our home. We spend lots of time together and it builds a habit. When my kids are getting older they will want to be part of it. Just hanging out around the table.
I’m still not the biggest fan… but I’m starting to love it.
Time to leave the excuses behind and start pursuing my kids with spending time on things they would like to do. There is nothing better than having your boy look up to you and say, ‘Thanx mom. It was fun!’
I’m curious! Do you play games with your kids? What is your favourite game? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
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