I miss the good old days when bonding was a lot simpler; with adolescence comes changes for us all. Now that the kids are getting older (and far cooler than mom), our family time is getting sparser and sparser. It doesn’t help matters that the age gap between the three of them is five years, which makes “hanging out” with each other and liking it more of a challenge. It’s probably the mom in me, but family time is just one fight I’m not going to give up on – that and dinner, everyone at the table, every night.
The dinner thing doesn’t work out so much; I cook, they dish their plates on their time, and leave the dishes behind. Usually with an “Oh, yea, sorry, I’ll get that in a few.” Kinda reminds me of the old Popeye line about repaying you next Tuesday, I've got a string of Tuesdays that still haven’t rolled around.
While I may not get dinner with everyone seated around the table every night, we still faithfully do spend at least one night a week as a family. We’ve always done movie nights, but the age divide has proven to make some viewing inappropriate for one age bracket and other choices far too boring for the other. The one thing that we still are able to do without much of the age-gap drama is our regular family game night.
One of our family favorite go-to game is Chicken Foot; it’s one game that we are all old enough to play and young enough to play hard! Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad, I had never heard of it before either. An elderly couple from church introduced us to it a few years ago and we’ve been playing ever since (a few of us more seriously than others). We like it because you can have as many players as you want. In our version though, there is no real winner, because we keep the same score sheet going from all previous games.
Because I pretty much insist that our game night be “unplugged” we don’t do a lot of video games together, but there are a few exceptions to the rule, but not many.
In the summer and early fall months we have been known to play “blanket games” while grilling. Basically a blanket game is a traditional game of checkers, hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, checkers or really any other game that can be sewn into a blanket – making a HUGE game board. For me personally, I like these because not only do they keep my kitchen table clear, but they encourage the kids (and parents) to be physically active because there is not leaning on your elbows when your "man" is 6-feet away from you!
Since my friends are crafty like that, I’ve not ever actually made my own blanket game board, but they look pretty easy. Of course if you’re not “sew literate” (like me) you can always buy one ;0)
There are a bazillion reasons why I prefer a game night over any other family night activity:
- You can play in your jammies (well maybe not out on the lawn)
- Come as you are, no hairbrush required (it is family, we’ve already seen you at your worst)
- Inexpensive (You only pay for the game once, after that free is a very good price)
- No hassle (no planning and no special menus just be there!)
- Rain or shine (the weather is not the boss of me)
- Reconnecting (nothing like some friendly competition to bring out the sassy-fun side of everyone)
Granted, all the casual attire in the world doesn’t change the fact that family time is definitely not like it was when I was growing up. We aren’t just competing with hectic schedules…..HDTV, rapid texting, and social site competition has gotten fierce, making it difficult to carve out regular family time, especially with big kids that are only getting bigger. All the more reason why I may change the game, but still insist that it still be played.
Please read my disclosure