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family game night

Hosting a Family Game Night

Family game nights with the kids are a great way to spend quality time together. It helps you bond, learn how to work together, and encourages you to talk about things you otherwise might not.

Unfortunately, it can also be a hassle to organise – finding a game to play, the best day to host it, what to do for dinner, and how to stop kids from getting bored and cranky. But don’t worry; we have some ideas to help you in all these crucial areas.

Picking a Day

Friday and Saturday nights are perfect for most kids – they get a small thrill about staying up past their usual bedtime, and you don’t have to worry about them being groggy for school the next day. However, you may find your youngsters crashing out early during the evening after a big day at school or playing with friends.

Moving your evening session to the afternoon might be the way to go if your kids are too young for later evenings.

family game night

Choosing Your Games

If you’ve got several hours to play over, you could choose several shorter games like Baby Shark Fishing Game or Align and see who can win the most. Alternatively, you could pick a game night classic such as Monopoly – perfect for older kids – to take up your hours of gameplay.

Make a list of all the games you have or can play and take a vote on which game you want to play to help prevent arguing. If the game that wins isn’t suitable for your youngest player, you can even the playing field by teaming your child with an adult or altering the rules so they have a fair shot at winning too.

Food and Drink

When playing games, it’s best to have finger food available so people don’t need to stop to eat. This might be sandwiches, pizzas, or snacks such as crisps, sweets, and chocolate. For healthier options, you could have cherry tomatoes, celery and carrot sticks, and berries. Set up little plates or bowls, so everyone playing can help themselves.

Juice, water, and fizzy pop are also excellent evening drinks. During your breaks, you can refill your and your child’s glasses and plates and keep everything within reach so your kids don’t get cross from being hungry or thirsty. We recommend using plastic picnic cups to prevent breakages and paper plates to reduce washing up (unless you want to use the dishes as a forfeit, of course!)

family game night

Preventing Unsportsmanlike Behaviour

 

Kids can quickly get upset if they lose or think someone is cheating. It can hold up the evening to deal with their temper tantrum, sour the mood, and some may decide they don’t want to play anymore. Whilst we can’t guarantee your child won’t cry and cause a scene, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of them or to shorten instances of upset.

 

Bring in forfeits for unwanted behaviour such as arguing, cheating, or aggression. Forfeits might include:

  • Missing a turn.
  • Having to wash the dishes at the end of the evening.
  • Reciting a tongue-twister a certain number of times.
     

Forfeits can either be a deterrent or can distract children so they forget why they were upset in the first place.
 

Consolation prizes are also a good option if your little one wants to feel better about their performance or abilities. No matter what happens, they know they’ll get to win something at the end, which could help to prevent tears when they realise they might lose the game.

 

Schedule regular breaks so you don’t have to keep stopping your game at different intervals. Having a gameplay break will allow kids to stretch their legs, grab a drink, go to the toilet, and generally get their concentration back in order. A ten-minute break every hour could help to stop your little one from getting bored and restless.

Keeping Comfortable

Ensure your kids are comfortable playing by providing extra cushions – especially if you’re playing at a dining table or on the living room floor. To shorten the bedtime routine afterwards and to help your little one feel comfy and cosy, you could all play in your pyjamas and dressing gowns!

For more ideas with the kids, browse our Toys collection or read some of the articles below.

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