9 Tips For Planning A Family Game Night

9 Tips For Planning A Family Game Night

Did you know that 96% of families that play games together feel closer? That’s right, gaming nights can strengthen bonds and create a close-knit family. With the cold winter nights approaching, you’ll need fun activities to beat the boredom. Incorporate family gaming nights into your regular schedule, ideally every week, and you can expect your kids especially to look forward to them. It strengthens family ties, improves communication, turns siblings into teammates, fosters unity, and creates healthy rivalry. If you haven’t planned one before, there are many things to consider. Here are some tips for planning a family game night.

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1. Schedule a day and be consistent

Start by choosing an ideal day and time for your gaming nights. You can hold an emergency family meeting and decide on this together. Once this decision is made, make it a point to stick to it. The goal is to make it a consistent part of your weekly schedule as a family. 

Don’t get it wrong; it’s not the end of the world if you have to miss some gaming nights. But the more consistent you are, the stronger this family ritual will get. And the best part is, it can continue even long after your kids are grown (and probably have complex schedules of their own). Don’t be surprised if your gaming nights form the core of your most cherished family moments.

2. Poll your family members on what games they want to play

After deciding on the right day, it’s time to determine the right game. Now, this is where it will get super exciting and even chaotic, as every family member will recommend their favorites. The more family members you have, the more recommendations or gaming suggestions you’ll get. So, you may have to make some compromises. But you can try this if your family fails to agree on a single game – select games randomly. Let every family member pick the preferred family game and list them. Then, randomly select one of them to play each week. Even better, rotate between the listed games. This way, no one will feel left out. Also, you don’t have to spend too much on expensive video games or board games. You can pick games like freecell and other solitaire games as a great way to encourage critical thinking while having fun.

3. Think about the amount of time you have

Some games can go on for hours, and you might not have enough time in your weekly schedule. So, consider how much you can devote to your family nights and choose games that will fit perfectly into that time. Choose games you can complete as a family without feeling pressured. It’s also a good idea to set time limits for playing to make your gaming nights more structured. Fun as it may be, you don’t want your little ones, especially, staying up all night.

4. Feed the little ones

Hungry kids become angry, and ‘hangry’ kids don’t play well. So, ensure that everyone is well-fed before game night. Adding snacks to your gaming setup is also not a bad idea. Some popcorn, cookies, drinks, hot cocoa, or your kids’ favorite treats will work magic. These additions can even lure the most stubborn or grumpy kids to play. 

Choose snacks that are easy to eat and play simultaneously without causing a mess. If you’ve created a theme for your game night, you can prepare snacks that match or coordinate with your theme. While at it, remember that water is super important, as it will keep everyone hydrated while making the snacks easy to swallow and digest. You can make things extra special by announcing special treats before the gaming night. That will give them another thing to look forward to.

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5. Add some prizes

Food isn’t the only magical addition to a family game night. Determine some prizes and incentives to add extra flavor to the gaming experience. It’s important to select suitable and satisfactory rewards for completing tasks in a game, achieving various gaming objectives, or even winning the game night. These rewards will give each family member another reason to look forward to the games with relish. What rewards to choose will depend on the type of game. But ideally, choose options that appeal to different age groups to ensure everyone has a fair opportunity to win something. You don’t want one family member grabbing all the prizes each week. That can easily discourage others from playing and kill the fun. 

Also, rewards should not always be about money. They can be in the form of a break from chores, bragging rights, or other intangible but good rewards.

6. Strategize the space

Family gaming nights can get pretty chaotic sometimes, and you may leave a mess, depending on the type of game you choose. Clutter, disorganization, and mess are a no-no, whether before, during, or after the game. So, strategize your space. Start by creating enough sitting space for everyone in the room. Legroom is also important for games that require moving around (like charades). If necessary, set furniture pieces aside and add some floor cushions to make the space more comfortable. Also, don’t allow disruptions or interruptions in the space. For example, cell phones and TVs should be off unless they’re part of the game, so feel free to consider this.

7. Lay down some ground rules

Each game comes with different sets of rules, but you’ll need some general ground rules for fairness, respect, discipline, and good sportsmanship. Some games give unfair advantages to some players. This is particularly true if everyone is one person’s favorite game or if one family member has had enough practice. Since you want to give everyone a fair shot at winning, consider making a few adjustments to the rules to suit the needs of disadvantaged players. For example, you can play in teams instead of individually, pairing the best players with the average. You can also give some disadvantaged players a headstart with free points. How you choose to bed or adjust the rules is completely at your discretion, but it should be fair. Also, establish some general grounds for conduct, cheating, bullying, or using foul language. Game nights can be very exciting, and players can act out (or say things) from raw emotions.

8. Be clear about the consequences of breaking the rules

Just as you’ll have rewards or prizes for winning the game, you should also be clear about the consequences of breaking the rules. Whether cheating, using curse words, fighting, or bullying, everyone should know what they’ll have to deal with when they break the rules. 

Kids, especially, need this to learn a lot from the gaming experience. Children are likelier to want to cheat, especially if they really want to win the game. Ensure you set and communicate the clear consequences of breaking any rules before the game starts. Some great ‘punishments’ could include doing the dishes for the week, taking out the trash, or specific ones you can think of.

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9. Introduce DIY games

Game nights shouldn’t always be about playing already-made, commercial games. You can spice things up a little by introducing some DIY games – something only your family can boast about. That will make the gaming experience a lot more special. You can plan new gaming concepts from scratch or ask each family member to chip in ideas. 

Family game nights are excellent ways to have fun and bond with each other. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy the experience.

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