By Dana Corriel MD
Board Game Benefits
Board games are fun, first and foremost. My words are always met with pleasure when the words, “Let’s play!” escape my lips. The announcement is usually followed by the loudly happy rummaging through the chest of games, and a big, wide smile appears as they finally find the winner- the chosen one.
But board games have health benefits, too.
The following are eight ways in which board games teach our children valuable life lessons:
1 They make us happy
Engaging in a game stirs up our inner competition, and pushes us to strive towards a goal. This releases endorphins and gives us something that occupies our time, and which serves a purpose (to win the game, and have fun while getting there)
2 They teach children how to lose
It sucks to lose. But what’s worse is winning to a sore loser. When we win fair and square, we want to enjoy that moment, and not have to explain our win, or console others. Children who play regularly, and are challenged, learn that it’s ok to be on the losing end sometimes. And let’s face it, losing serves as a motivating drive to get even better and that’s a lesson that’s ultra important for our kids.
3 They help children expand their planning skills
Games almost always require thinking ahead. Children must form these thoughts in their heads, plan their moves out, and then proceed. It’s a necessary part of their lives, as they get older and we, as parents and their initial decision-makers, take a step back.
4 They keep children off of electronics
The jury is still out on just how much time children should spend with their screens. The latest study shows we may be too harsh on just how bad this exposure can be A colleague and friend, pediatrician Yael Wapinski, MD shared her thoughts on this issue here on the website. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, board games offer a perfect respite to the electronic addiction our youth is facing.
5 They build their interactive skills
Playing board games encourages a healthy, interactive relationship not only with their friends, but also with their parents. These are the social skills that will stay with them forever.
6 They teach children to follow instructions
Games help with reading and, even more, with understanding and following through on directions. After all, a game can’t be played unless you’re making up the rules, which actually ties in with the next point..
7 They massage their imagination
I can recall several occasions when my children expanded on a game they were playing- changing the rules or even adding on to the game in a new way. I sometimes see pieces from one game on the board of another and smile to myself in satisfaction, after realizing they’ve tapped into their creativity to make up something new.
8 They keep them out of trouble
This last one is a stretch, I know, but if you think this through, there’s definitely truth to the statement. All the while your kids are enjoying a good board game, they’re staying out of trouble. I count on the love my children have developed for this wonderful pastime in keeping them occupied for years to come.
So go ahead, start a tradition that will be carried with them through the years, for their kids and their children’s kids and so on and so forth, trickling down the generations of healthy board game-lovers.
About the author:
Dana Corriel, MD, is a board-certified internist who writes regularly on her site drcorriel.com. She has appeared in multiple publications, including the LA Times, Boston Globe, HuffPost, and SELF, and teaches healthcare professionals how to navigate through and optimize social media presence. Her favorite pastime is to explore other countries, which she does regularly, and writes about.
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