Okay, it is summer and it may not be the right time of year for this blog - but rain and boredom can strike at any time, so I’d like to embrace the un-trendy and give a shout out to board games.
It’s always easier to have a conversation with your children (or any other human for that matter) while you’re doing something else. Walking is good, because you’re side by side, breathing regularly and out of doors. Cooking is good for the same alignment reasons, and you’re both focused on a shared task. But games are great because the emotional odds are already ramped up, so you tend to get more honest responses.
Board games require rationalising impulse and patience in turn taking, along with giving a clear framework within which we exercise decision-making and emotional control. They are also a relatively safe environment in which to practise resilience through being a good loser.
As the adult in the equation, it IS possible to put the importance of winning or losing aside, in favour of enjoying the experience of spending intimate focussed time with your children. It’s up to you which is the most important - just saying!
Although, I have very fond memories of my own father becoming so engrossed in games of Ludo, that he would fling any ‘taken’ players’ counters across the room. I think I really enjoyed seeing him succumb to baser instincts and let himself get lost in the moment.
Whichever way you choose to play it; it’s time well spent with the family, it’s fun, it gives you the best opportunity to chat. And even the more sensitive and important issues don’t seem so dramatic when they’re brought up in the context of Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the candlestick.