Family game time is fun, if everyone’s a good sport. However, kids aren’t always the best at board game etiquette. In fact, many adults aren’t either.

In order to have a great time, and learn along the way, you have to teach kids the right way to play. Games are much easier to enjoy when no one’s throwing pieces or refusing to learn the rules.

Teach by Example

One of the biggest benefits of playing board games over video games is the face-to-face interaction. This helps to teach vital social skills. The easiest way to teach board game etiquette is to demonstrate it. If the adults have a bad attitude when they lose, the kids will too. If adults are cheating, the kids will do the same.

Play games with your kids the way you want them to play with others. This is why it’s important to not only let your kids play with others their age, but to play as a family.

Set Up Clear Rules

If the thought of family game night feels daunting, setting up clear rules about how the activity should go will help to provide a more structured environment and make things run more smoothly.

Here are a few rules you might include:

  • No tech at the table
  • Respect everyone’s turn and choices
  • No throwing pieces, flipping the board or other destructive behavior
  • No cheating
  • Ask questions if you’re not certain

You can even provide special prizes at the end of game night for successfully following the rules.

Encourage Group Rule Learning

Let’s be honest, even as adults, it’s not fun slogging through board game instructions. Kids especially don’t have that kind of patience. This might make them act out or refuse to follow the rules, breaking a key rule of board game etiquette – play by the rules.

Instead of someone reading the instructions, turn it into a group activity. Everyone gets to read a section, if they’re able to read. Then, any player, kid or adult, can showcase an example. This makes it easier to learn and remember the rules. Alternatively, you can watch our videos here for step-by-step directions on how to play each game.

Explain the Benefits of Losing

No one wants to lose, but eventually everyone will probably get their turn during family game night. Losing helps build resiliency and teaches you how to bounce back from disappointments. Explain how you feel when you lose and how it helps you get better at the game. Also, take time to praise them for a great move or well-thought-out strategy to build their confidence. You can also finish off game night with a favorite snack for everyone, so everyone wins a little.

Use your next family game night to teach board game etiquette. The more you play, the better it gets. Plus the kids will have even more fun as they build up their confidence through practicing. Ready? Game on!