Social Skills and Board Games

Since summer is here for many families, I thought this would be the perfect time for parents to focus on some great social skills with their children.

I encourage you to start playing board games with your child. There are games available for kids of all ages. Take time this summer to work on the following skills.

  1. Turn taking – When it is your turn, hold onto an object such as a stuffed bear or small ball. When it is the next player’s turn, pass the object to that person. This will help your child conceptualize what it means to actually take turns and will help your child across many environments.
  1. Sharing – Many kids have difficulties sharing games and toys. Board games give your child the chance to share his game with others. During this activity, use lots of verbal praise to remind him that he is doing a great job sharing! You may want to create a story with pictures and words to break down the concept of sharing….let’s set your child up for success.
  1. Team work – There are many games out there that take collaboration and team effort in order to win. I encourage you to find games that do not have an individual winner or loser, so that your child learns how to be part of a team. Check out these games for some great ideas: Hoot Owl Hoot, Race to the Treasure, and Count Your Chickens.
  1. Being a good team sport – Let’s face it, there are times when your child needs to learn how to handle losing a game. This can be so frustrating for not just him, but you as well. I have observed countless meltdowns when children aren’t the first at something, or when they don’t win a game. Work on being a good team sport, talk about what this means, and model this behavior so that your child can observe what it looks like. Check out and read the following books on being a good team player:
    1. Liam Wins the Game, Sometimes: A Story About Losing With Grace, by Jane Whelen Banks
    2. Sally Sore Loser: A Story About Winning and Losing, by Frank J. Sileo
    3. Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns about Sportsmanship:Winning Isn’t Everything, by Howard Binkow
  1. Strategy – Introduce the concept of strategy. Talk to your child about planning their next move and the pros and cons of making a certain move. Discuss what it means to have a plan, thoroughly thinking through a plan, and what happens if a plan doesn’t go as he expected.

Of course, HAVE FUN! Always remind your child that the point of PLAYING a game is to have fun.

I hope you are enjoying the start of your summer!

Please share below, when it comes to boardgames, what challenges does your child face?

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Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed.

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