Board games are usually a group activity. While we always have fun playing board games with the whole family, board games for one-on-one family time should not be overlooked. One-on-one board gaming is such a great way to connect! Keep reading to learn more about why we make time for one-on-one board gaming in our house.
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You Should Be Playing One-on-One Board Games with your Kids
One-on-one family time is so important! I was reading this great article 10 Easy Ideas for Spending One-on-One Time with Your Child, and it got me reflecting on our favorite way to spend one-on-one time, playing board games!
We started playing board games with our first child when he was a toddler. Typically this was one-on-one with my wife or I playing while the other parent was trying to get stuff done and keep our heads above water as (relatively) new parents. Fast forward a bit, with a second child in the mix, most of our games are played with three or four players. This change has really opened my eyes to how precious the one-on-one gaming time was. Because of this, we’ve started to make a conscious effort to have one-on-one board game time with each kid on a regular basis. What’s so great about playing board games one-on-one with kids you ask?
Why Play One-on-One Board Games?
It makes them feel special!
Finding time to bond with kids individually is a challenge as your family grows. Playing board games one-on-one is the easiest way to make kids feel special! I love seeing their eyes light up when it’s just the two of us and I suggest they pick a board game. Letting them pick a game and giving them ALL the attention while you play is the perfect way to give your kid a confidence boost!
Great for communication
I think we’ve all had those times with our kids when the relationship just feels a little rocky. For me this tends to happen when I’m working on a project that’s giving me a little extra stress and it coincides with the kids going through one of ‘those’ phases. Taking some time for a one-on-one board game session has been the solution to reconnect and reopen communication. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve really gotten to the root of something that was weighing on one of the kids (or me!) while playing board games.
The Best Way to Teach New Board Games
One of the frustrations with playing kids board games is teaching new games. Trying to teach multiple kids a new board game at the same time is kind of like herding cats. If you want to make the process of learning a new game way easier, start off playing the new game one-on-one with each of your kids! It’s amazing to me how much more engaged my kids are in learning a new game when removing the distraction of their sibling. Pro tip: this also works great when teach games to adults (although you may have to also confiscate their cell phone)!
I’ve written a lot about how board games are an amazing teaching tool (check out 100 things kids can learn from board games). This is only amplified when playing board games one-on-one. Board games usually generate questions from our kids about topics that are briefly referenced in a game.
When we’re playing as a whole family, it’s pretty rare that everyone involved has interest in exploring a question that arises. Typically this leads to statements like ‘great question, let’s talk about it when we’re done with the game’. I’d like to tell you we always remember to circle back to those questions…but I’d be lying. However, when playing one-on-one board games, it’s so easy to pause the game. This allows us to fully answer/explore any question that the game stirs with your kids!
How to Fit in More One-on-One Board Games
If you’ve got a big family, finding time to play one-on-one can be a real challenge. Here are some of the ways we focus on fitting more one-on-one board game time in.
Adding Board Games to the Bedtime Routine
Our youngest goes to bed earliest, so one of our favorite things to do is squeeze in a one-on-one board game with her while her brother is getting ready for bed, and then turn around and play one with him when it’s her bed time. I love this because it fits into pretty much any day we want it to!
Divide and Conquer
Forewarning, this is probably specific to two kid families. Sometimes when everyone wants to play board games, rather then all playing the same game, we’ll split up. We let each kid pick a board game and a parent, then game on! This works especially well when the kids are arguing over what game to play.
Parent/Kid Date Nights
Want to make one-on-one board gaming even more special? Loop it into a date night with your little one! Sometimes we’ll go out to eat, and come home and combine dessert with their favorite board game. Other times we check out a new game at the local board game cafe. This is a perfect way to make your kids feel special while connecting with board games!
Start Your Family One-on-One Board Gaming!
I hope you’ll try out some one-on-one board game time in your family! We also love to play board games on date night! Check out date night in playing board games. In my next post I’ll share our favorite board games to play one-on-one for each age, subscribe to our newsletter below to make sure you don’t miss it!