8.17.2020 By contributing author: John Kinney

Why teach your kids gaming

     Bringing up a third generation of gamers has revealed never before guessed considerations for teaching games to kids.  Playing games has provided us a lot of family fun while also teaching social skills.   In terms of dealing with people, the kids learned social skills like cooperation, teamwork, dealing with disappointment, being good winners or losers, and playing by rules. 

     All games have rules, and teaching your kids to play by the rules should be the basis for all their gameplay once they reach kindergarten.  Kids in general like structure, and the rules of the game provide that structure in a safe, fun environment.  The rules tell the players how to reach their goals in a game and provide comforting predictability. 

     Generally the two types of games are competitive games where all the players play against each other, and cooperative games, where players play against the game and either everyone wins or loses together.  Both types of games teach valuable lessons, and each has challenges for kids to learn and adults to teach.  Cooperative games, such as Pandemic, are all about teamwork and helping each other so all the players can reach their goals.  Competitive games, such as Ticket to Ride, are every player for themselves.  We encourage our kids to generally play friendly games where players don’t block each other’s progress unless it is necessary for a goal.  The game eventually ends and a child wins or loses.  They will have to deal with either the disappointment of losing or the challenge of winning gracefully.  These types of challenges can be difficult for kids to work through which is where parents can be a great help.  Games are a way to teach your kids to deal with these situations at home before dealing with similar things in the larger world.  Also, if the kids have fun playing games, they will want to play them again and again, reinforcing the social skills they have learned each time they play. 

     Today’s take away: play games with your kids!  It’s fun, it’s good for their social development, and you can be there when they need help.