The Family Game Night is no revolutionary idea these days. It’s talked about all over the web. However, many families aren’t actually having them because, well, it just sounds like a better idea than it probably is in real life.
When I think of Family Game Night, I think of my beautiful family all gathered around a game board, laughing, talking, having a fantastic time. Everyone is being so kind to one another. Perhaps we have a bowl of popcorn that we’re passing around amongst us. After a couple hours of blissful family-time, we all climb the stairs, cuddle into our beds and fall asleep, thinking about how wonderful our family is.
But that is absolutely NEVER what happens.We start out by all disagreeing what game we should play in the first place. Then there’s arguing over who gets to be the blue one. Typically this ends in someone yelling a rude thing to another, and that said person gets carried up to bed while she is kicking and screaming, for a time out. Of course we can’t start the game without her, so we sit while she calms down. This could take 15 minutes. By this time, 2 year old has lost all interest in game-playing and roams off to play with her calculator and baby doll. Still, this is fine. We just play without 2 year old and she doesn’t seem to mind.
We start playing, and we’re fine- taking turns. I bring out the popcorn. There is immediately conversations about who has the most popcorn, who has eaten the popcorn the fastest, who has the least amount of unpopped kernels. They eat all the popcorn, want more, and then cry because there is no more. Temper tantrum throwing child again freaks out, has to go back up to bed for a time out. She comes back down 10 minutes later and other kid has gotten engrossed in a game on the ipad that he was playing while he waited, I’ve started to tidy up, by this time baby is doing her “I hate to sleep” freak-out that happens before bed every single night. Dad is doing the rock, shake, shushing dance that gets her to sleep, but of course he can’t play while he does that. We finish the game up with three players, and of course there is fighting and crying because someone won.
Kids of COURSE don’t want to go to bed. It’s past their bedtime so they are extra cranky. Takes forever to get them to go potty, brush their teeth, and get their jammies on. We bypass books because it’s SO late and because “we had a special game night”. “NO! I want a book! We always have a book! I didn’t want to play games!…” and the kids fall asleep eventually, thinking how mean we are. We parents fall asleep thinking that we will NEVER do that again. Or maybe we will, but not until they are all much older.
But, a few days later, we still pretend that it is AWESOME and we pin all of these fun family togetherness activities because it just all sounds like such good ideas that we can do sometime in the future.
Anybody with me?
So, all that said– it’s still worth it. Those attempts at togetherness is worth the fighting, the arguing, the crazyness. Why? Because it’s memories. And because kids are crazy and will continue to be crazy no matter what you do. It’s better to be dealing with crazyness together than everyone doing their own thing. It’s these times that matter. Because the kids remember that mom and dad played games with them. They remember the popcorn. They remember the laughing (in between the crying). This builds the relationship, even though the experience isn’t perfect.
I had planned on sharing some game ideas here, and I guess I still will, but I think the main point of this is to remember that what is pinned on those virtual boards has got to make their way to real life. And to remember that, especially with younger children, it’s rarely as good as what you imagine it will be. But it’s still worth it.
So, if you’re thinking about breaking out the game boards tonight, here are the top 10 games that we like to play around our house (in no particular order):
1. Chess (for the older ones, of course)
2. UNO (our 2 year old LOVES to play!)
(we created this one as a family!)
5. Connect 4
7. Go Fish
So go grab a game, order some pizza, and make some memories– even if they’re not perfect ones! 🙂
And don’t forget to share– what are some of your family’s favorite games? We’re always looking for something different to try out!