Do you do a family game night? Here is the magical thing about it — it grows with the family. Starting when your kids are young you can establish a tradition. A recurring night or afternoon of togetherness, snacks, and fun. When kids are young, try cooperative games so there aren’t winners and losers. As your kids grow, so will the types of games. I love when we go on vacation and we play games at unexpected times — like right after breakfast on the porch of a mountain cabin with hot cocoa or after a swim at the pool in the heat of the afternoon when you are visiting the beach.
This is what childhood memories are made of. And when your kids are grown and gone — when they come back to visit, you’ll get out your favorite games and the tradition will live on. They will bring home friends, husbands, and wives to join in. Then, eventually, they will pass it on to their kids as well. I see this as I watch my son play hours of games with his grandparents. Some of the same games they played with their son, when he was a boy.
Games have the added bonus of being a great way for children to practice self-regulation skills, like waiting, planning, focusing and shifting attention, short-term memory — the list goes on.
Here are my age-by-age guides of the best games to teach kids self-regulation (with full descriptions!) for games that are not only fun for the family, but also give kids a chance to practice that all-important skill of developing self-regulation.