The first argument for board games may be the most important. According to Catherine Goldschmidt, journalist specialized in games and toys' evaluation, board games represent one of the first steps towards socialization. “It teaches you to wait your turn and to respect the other. Of course young children will move the counters on their own at first, but they will slowly learn to play with each other”.
Board games also help you to get to know your child. Personality traits or aptitudes that you did not know about can become more obvious when your child reacts, comments or discovers an aspect of the game.
Of course, board games cannot keep families away from arguments but it can help to manage frustrations and, of course, it is a wonderful tool to develop various skills.
Types of games
Even if there are many categories of games, Catherine Goldschmidt thinks that we can regroup them in four main families.
Cooperative games, based on teamwork: we all play together against the game. Players can therefore share both loss and victory. “This type of game is an interesting choice to play with children who can’t stand loosing”, says Mrs. Goldschmidt.
Because children can play this type of games at a very young age (around three years old), it is not very stimulating for older children and parents… but there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to make our children happy, is there?
Strategy games are made for children over six years old, except for a few exceptions (a few games can be played by children as young as 4 years old). In this type of game, the notion of chance is replaced by tactic and reason.
Educational games encourage to read and to use numbers. They have been considered boring for a long time, but designers have made tremendous efforts to make them more attractive and stimulating, says Catherine Goldschmidt.
Finally, board games, in the strict sense regroup memory games, lottery games, bingo, etc. Children can play from two to three years old.
When the games divide
Even if games rhyme with fun, the rules and the outcome may result in arguments and anger. It is obviously more rare in games made for toddlers because there are not so many rules to follow.
- However, a round should not last more than ten minutes for games that target very young players (2-3 years old).
- Games of chance rarely cause disputes because even if your child lost, he may win the next round.
- Games for children aged 7 or over are more likely to trigger sulking so try not to look too disappointed yourself and give a good example.
- If your child refuses to follow the rules, put the game away for a week and try again.
We must take it with a grain of salt when little ones are too proud to accept loosing, says Mme Goldschmidt. “Should we let them win? In fact, we must make them win and loose in rotation. We must also make them understand that they are not superior if they win or inferior when they loose”.
Moreover, try to show some flexibility in the requirements, she says, try to bend the rules a little when needed.
However, you should never accept cheating. Make your child understand that you will not play if he cheats and explain the rules of competition and that everyone has more fun when he follows the rules.