10 Tips for a Great Family Game Night

Posted by idawrites on January 22, 2009 in Children, Family, Food, Frugal Tips |

We love to have Family Game Night. It’s a great chance for us to laugh, talk, and reconnect with our kids. Here are some of the things we’ve learned about having a successful, fun family game night.

  1. Invite any local family and friends who would be fun participants. The more friends and family who participate, the more laughs you’ll have and the more likely your kids won’t roll their eyes and refuse to participate.
    • As much as you want to include everyone, don’t invite the spoil sport, the sore loser, or your long time buddy that dislikes kids.
  2. Don’t try to have a normal sit-down dinner. Make “party foods” for dinner and invite everyone to bring something they like. Even if you put together healthy finger foods instead of my normal fare of Mexican cheese dip with chips, pigs in a blanket, and deviled eggs, buffet style service is still the way to go.
  3. Plan your family game night for a week night. Having your game night during the week makes it easy to wrap up at a reasonable hour and doesn’t impose on everyone’s weekend plans. If you aren’t inviting anyone else to your game night, this probably won’t be a big consideration.
  4. Have a variety of options. We have two trunks full of all kinds of games in our living room. Last night, we played Fluxx, Jenga, and Charades (no game needed… just participants). On previous occasions, we’ve played Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and Loot. The games are really unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
  5. Let the kids choose. The children are not going to look forward to family game night if they don’t get to choose the activities. Keep the theme relaxed and fun and don’t get your heart TOO set on any one activity.
  6. Put the electronic games away. We were sorely tempted to break out the Wii for our game night, but we resisted. If everyone can’t play at the same time, don’t play electronic games. Nobody has fun when the kids are jostling for a turn and cranky because they have to wait until THEY can have the fun part.
  7. Change the rules. When the family members start to look a bit bored, change the game, or just change the rules. Mid-way through Charades last night, Mark changed the rules from “All Movie Titles” to “All Song Titles” and there was a flurry of new ideas and new excitement from the children.
  8. Don’t be a spoil sport. If it’s your turn, don’t refuse to join in. It makes everyone feel as though you don’t enjoy their company. If you’re not up for the games, excuse yourself and let the rest of the family have a good time.
  9. Be a gracious winner (or loser). Gloating and pouting are seriously ugly habits. If you can’t play without being mean to the “other guy” then you need a time out. Set good examples in sportsmanship for your children. After all, they model what they see.
  10. Know when to call it quits. If the kids start getting cranky, the food runs out, and Uncle Larry starts being obnoxious, it’s time to wrap up the evening and send everyone home (or to bed). Knowing when to call it quits makes you look forward to the next time instead of dreading bringing it up.

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