28 Sep Does Your Child Need Better Organisation Skills?
Have a Family Games Night!
Many people will recall childhood memories of the hours spent playing board games with friends. Back before video games appeared, this was one way to while away the time when it was too hot or rainy to go outside.
These days board games don’t get played as much as they used to and yet they are a great medium for teaching children valuable skills under the guise of having fun. As children grow it is important to foster their independence by exposing them to greater levels of responsibility, so that they can learn to plan and organise things for themselves. These skills are often referred to as executive function and self-regulation skills and many parents will recognise how these skills can differ greatly even between children in the same family. For example, children with strong executive function skills will have no trouble with focussing their attention, remembering instructions and planning homework tasks, whereas other children struggle greatly without a parent to organise them and guide them step by step through the process.
Many board games or card games require children focus their attention and plan ahead in order to beat their opponent. For example, in the card game UNO children soon learn that they need to plan the best order to use their cards, so that they make it more difficult for their opponent to win. Children practice their ability to forward plan within a game and this skill can be applied to other life skills such as thinking out the steps to complete a homework task. As children become more proficient at planning, it can be valuable to extend their skills by introducing them to more complex strategy games such as chess. These types of games require children to multi task by planning their own moves and also anticipate their opponents move. Even games like Monopoly are encouraging children to plan ahead when thinking about what properties they might need to buy.
So next time the kids are saying they are bored and have nothing to do, challenge them to a board game. Not only will it help them build some skills, it is an opportunity to spend some quality time with them doing something interactive and fun.
Julie Steward – Psychologist