Benefits of playing games with your children
We all know that children love to play but actively playing with your children, rather than just leaving them to their own devices, can have an extremely positive impact on their development. This is the case throughout their childhood too, not just in their younger years.
Improve numeracy skills
There are so many games available that will help your children in their counting and numeracy abilities and, by playing with them, you can really encourage them to hone these skills. These games vary from numbered jigsaws to basic card games.
Cookery can be a really fun way to put these mathematical talents into practice too. Weighing, measuring and counting out ingredients can be a great, practical way to help your children visualise different types of measurement.
Show that you’re equals
Allowing your child to help pick the game you play and listening to their ideas or suggestions throughout can be a great way of showing you are equals. Sit on the floor with them and engage in the game on their level. This can go a long way to teach your child that you value and respect them, which can greatly improve their cooperation on other matters. It all comes down to explaining why, rather than simply saying ‘because I said so’.
Teach them to be a good sport
You can’t always win. That’s a fact of life. However, it can still be difficult for children to deal with losing a game. Through playing with your children, you can lead by example and demonstrate the appropriate way to behave when you don’t win. The important thing here is that you need to not always let them win! Be a great example of a good sport and then let them do the same.
Board games have clear rules and limits. There are certain rules that must be adhered to and cheating or bending these rules will ruin the game. Learning to play these games and understand the rules can be great practice for learning the complex limits and boundaries that exist in society.
This can be especially useful for children approaching school age, who are going to have to soon get used to working to certain rules, along with the rest of their class. However, this isn’t to say that you should in any way discourage your children from questioning the rules – try and give valid and appropriate responses whenever they do so.
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Help improve concentration
Playing any game requires a certain level of concentration. Your child will have to focus to keep up with what is going on and play properly. There is generally a strong pre-existing incentive to do so – winning! But this extended concentration span will spill over into other activities, so it can have a highly positive effect on learning in all areas.
By actively playing the game with your child, you can help to steer their concentration back to the task at hand if it does start to wander. There is nothing wrong with reiterating the rules throughout.