Saturday, December 31, 2011

Game on!

If you have children and you do not have a family game night on a regular basis, I highly recommend it. My husband and I started this a few years ago with our family and it has been a huge success. Game Night is a great way to bond, stay involved and just have some silly time with the kids. Let down your hair and show them that not every night is about chores and homework and being to bed on time. That little something to look forward to together. The plan was so simple. My boys go to their father's house for visitation every other weekend so we decided to play our games every other Friday night when we have them. First, we have a sit-down-at-the-table dinner together and then we rotate who's turn it is to pick which game we enjoy for the evening. There are four of us so that means we each get to choose what we are going to play about every eight weeks. On every tenth game night we go out and purchase a new game for our collection, which adds up to around two games a year. That Game Night does not count as any one's turn since we play the new game instead. Next Friday night will be our seventieth Game Night! In the summer time we do not get to play every other week because the schedule gets very busy. There are lots of baseball games and practices, extra visitations with the boys' father, at least one week of summer camp at F.P.Y.C. and sleepovers dispersed here and there. We have to be a bit more flexible in the summers.

The games we play are mostly board games. We try to keep the video games to a minimum, maybe for special occasions. Any game goes. I can think of only one time we had to say no to a game choice. It was when I was about eight months pregnant with our daughter and my eleven year son old came out holding Twister in his hands. I'm sure you can understand why we had to veto that choice. No hard feelings.

This Christmas we made sure to get a few toddler friendly games back into the house. Our daughter actually turned two today and we are going to start adding her into the family fun whenever possible. I think the best way to do it will be to play a small game with her right after dinner and then when she goes off to bed we can move on to the big kid game for the evening. I can't wait to get her involved in all the fun.

Usually it is just our family playing but we do have guests join us every once in a while. I feel it is important to keep the Fridays mostly just us so that there are no distractions keeping our focus from the children, seeing as this was the whole point to begin with. It is nice to be able to share our experience with others though. For example, we had not been able to hang out with some very good friends of our in quite a while. We had been saving a couple bottles of Saki we had received as a gift years ago and specifically wanted to share them with these particular friends. We were able to make a night of it. I made homemade stir fry and they brought over some sushi. The kids were able to try new things and we were allowed to catch up with our friends. It was a great time for everyone. I was very impressed to see my boys actually try the sushi. So cool.

I love building these memories together. I don't want to take these nights we share for granted. As the kids grow up and become busy with their own activities and friends, we may have to make some changes. I know this already and am giving myself ample time to mentally prepare. I will keep the tradition going for our family as long as possible. It has been so great for us. I am hoping to still be having a form of Game Night even after the kids move out, move on and begin their own families. I am sure it will not be every other week but still something we can do whenever we can. Who knows, maybe my children will have enjoyed it enough to incorporate it into their own households many years from now. That would fell pretty good. That would make me very happy.

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