Combating Screen Addition and Our Love of Board Games

This Christmas, like every other in our recent family history, we're giving our kids several board games. Growing up I wasn't particularly into board games and might have joked that they should be called bored games on more than one occasion 😅, but I've come to love them, partly because we've found some truly exciting and fun games, and because I know how great they are for kids and families. 

Spending too much time on screens is linked to poor sleep habits, social problems, attention issues, difficulty regulating emotions, and general lethargy.  Educators have noticed that children who spend more time on screens have lower grades, enjoy reading less, and have trouble staying on track than their peers who have less screen exposure. What troubles me more than any of this is how little research has been conducted on the long-term impact of screens and social media on children and teens. Anyone born in the last 20 years is truly a guinea pig when it comes to screens and we just don't know the full scope of what it does to kids. With all that in mind, Brad and I have been cautious with introducing screens to our kids and tried to limit them significantly in favour of imaginative play, reading, physical activity, and board games. 

As a family, we'll definitely spend our fair share of time snuggled up on the couch watching Christmas movies over the break, but generally screen time is limited to 1-2 hours on weekends. Our kids don't play video games, they don't use e-mail, they don't have personal devices, and they don't watch a lot of popular media. I know screens aren't going anywhere and with online learning being a real part of our lives it's unrealistic to not allow our children any access to them, but we do everything we can to be wise about how much we allow and the context for screens in our home. 

Our kids genuinely don't feel they're missing out because we've been able to find some great activities and hobbies for them. I wanted to talk about board games in this post specifically as I know many of you will be looking for gift ideas this week! As I said, I haven't always been a board game fan because I find the super strategy ones too intense and not social enough (I'm more of a charades girl myself!), but Brad has always been a fan and over the years he's done lots of research on playability to find games I'll like and that work with our kids ages (now, 7-10). Here's a list of our favourite board games. It's going to be a long winter and I know we'll be playing them quite often! Maybe you'll find one for your family as well :) 

  • Azul (my absolute fav and great for kids and adults alike!)
  • Ticket to Ride Europe (the original is very fun but the Europe version is more complicated with tunnels and ferries, plus we love the European cities!)
  • Stone Age (such a beautiful, tactile game of civilizations)
  • Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle (this is one of the kids' Christmas gifts and they're going to be obsessed!)
  • Dix It (for the social players like me this ones great!)
  • Caverna (a strategy game about building and decorating your own cave)

This year we had the good fortune to work with Asmodee Games, which is easily our favourite Game company. They make all of our favourites and they gifted us a few on this list, others, also by Asmodee, we purchased ourselves because we really love them!

Honestly, for any parents worrying that their kids are growing dependent on screens, the best advice I can give you is to provide them exciting, engaging alternatives. With the pandemic a lot of extra curriculars have been cancelled so there's more time at home than ever, but board games are a great option. Playing together, we have more family conversation than watching films allows, and we're finding it's a wonderful way to make memories and bond as a family. 

This post was in collaboration with Asmodee Games.
All opinions are 100% my own.
To book a collaboration, contact me!

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