family Board Games

How Family Board Games Promote Healthy Development

Playing board games promotes family bonding, creates joyful memories, and decreases the body’s stress response. It also helps children learn about cooperation, communication, and conflict resolution with other players.

Anticipating other players’ moves, overcoming obstacles, and strategizing improve problem-solving skills and critical thinking. Winning and losing teaches them to be gracious in both scenarios and practice good sportsmanship.

Social Skills

Playing board games with other people of different ages is a good way for children to practice social skills such as waiting for their turn, learning to play by the rules, and listening to other players. It also teaches them how to solve problems, communicate, and cooperate with others. Children must learn these life skills to succeed in social situations outside the home and school.

The best family board games are a fun and easy way for parents to promote family bonding, healthy development, and social skills in their children. They’re an excellent alternative to screens that provide less structured and unstructured playtime and can help reduce kids’ stress levels.

While research on board games is limited, studies suggest that cooperative board games can increase prosocial behaviors such as helping and sharing. In contrast, competitive board games increase antisocial behaviors such as cheating. However, these studies only coded behavior during game sessions, so it is unclear whether the behaviors learned in board games will generalize to other types of social settings.

Another great social skill that can be learned through board games is understanding and expressing emotions in socially acceptable ways. This is something that many young children struggle with, and it’s helpful for them to have the tools to talk about their feelings in a non-threatening way.

Emotional Health

Aside from the fun, board games promote emotional well-being by promoting social interaction and building family bonds. They provide a space for children to express and overcome their fears, anxieties, and frustrations with others in a safe environment, and they help build critical life skills, including problem-solving and decision-making.

The calming effect of playing board games also helps children develop emotional resilience, enabling them to navigate the highs and lows that come with winning and losing. For example, if their opponent steals their cookie or they draw the wrong card, your child will be better able to handle it because they’ve been taught to play with a spirit of fairness and cooperation.

Moreover, they improve kids’ response to delayed gratification instead of the instant gratification of video games and kid apps. Regularly playing board games can retrain brains to get the same buzz from a slow release of chemicals, which can help them focus on longer-term projects like schoolwork.

Depending on the game you choose, board games can also be great for fine and gross motor skills, such as coordination. 

Cognitive Development

Board games are a powerful way to promote cognitive development in children. They stimulate the brain to create new connections, key to learning and memory. They encourage strategic thinking, which helps kids make good decisions and deal with failure.

They also help develop motor skills that improve agility, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination. These are important for typing, writing, and detailed handwork. Finally, they help build problem-solving and reasoning skills as kids plan their moves to win.

They also require children to pay close attention and follow instructions, essential for school, social settings, and working life. In addition, they foster the ability to think creatively and analytically, as well as practice patience and the skill of waiting for one’s turn. 

To identify the best studies, researchers performed a preliminary inductive coding of outcomes and measures and held an iterative coding session until all coders agreed. 

Physical Health

Playing board games boosts kids ‘ problem-solving skills, whether they’re trying to solve puzzles, make decisions, or build their own strategy. And that’s not all – it also increases creativity, which helps them unlock a part of their brain they might not have known they had.

While some parents might write off board games as old-fashioned or time-consuming, getting kids to put down their phones and play with their families is a good way to encourage them to have healthier habits. Getting them to spend less time staring at screens means they’ll be less likely to develop stress and high blood pressure in the future.

Board game playing also improves kids’ response to delayed gratification. Unlike video games or kid apps, board games provide a slow release of chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin, which can help kids learn to focus on longer-term projects like schoolwork.

Plus, for kids who are reluctant to talk, board games can give them a chance to bond with their family in a way that doesn’t require too much talking. Moreover, studies have found that playing board games can help children who are shy or quiet, especially those with communication challenges, feel more confident and connected.


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