As adults we all know that many of our most important lessons were learnt in the experience & relationships of our family unit. Encouraging children to develop curiosity, be confident & caring and to persist are the building blocks for life long success and happiness.
A child’s home life and family environment undoubtedly helps mould them into the person they will grow up to be. You may be wondering what you can do as a family to help your child learn valuable skills as they start to grow up, using our expertise we have created a series of articles to help answer these questions which can be found below:
How Can Family Help When it Comes to Learning?
– Encourage children to ask questions & explore solutions
– Build confidence, encourage and reward
– Help children to see, think & learn above & beyond traditional skills of reading, maths & writing
– Model good behaviour
– Moderate screen based activities
– Support activity & physical pursuits
– Build creative confidence
– Reward perseverance & taking risks
– Develop interest in the world around them
– Take time for social activities
– Support compassion & consideration
– Relish experiences
– Social-emotional skills
– Unplugged play
– Work/Life balance
– Competitiveness vs co-operation
– Family time
– Physical fitness
– Future proofing your child for success
– Mental health
– Social pressures
– Public behaviour
– Safety vs risk
1) How Can Family Help Children When it Comes to Learning?
For most children, family is who they spend the most time with, so it’s unsurprising that children learn a lot from their parents and siblings.
Here are some things you’ll want to make sure you’re doing for your children when it comes to their learning and education, and how you can make sure family is playing the right role in their lives.
Family should provide a child with the encouragement they need to grow and develop in their own way. Learning and growing is difficult and some children may struggle with learning at school – so having and receiving the right encouragement at home can make all the difference. Especially around the ages of 7-16 years old, a child should feel encouraged by their family to give everything their best effort and make the most of their education.
Enthusiasm is a big part of learning, and it’s something that a child’s family should always be on hand to offer. Children can often have questions about learning or about school, and many children go through phases where they question the education process and their own place in it. Receiving the right enthusiasm from family members can help combat any uncertainty from the child, and can help them remain excited and enthusiastic about learning.
Support is really crucial when it comes to hobbies and learning outside of school. If a child wants to take classes or join a club outside of school hours, they will need the help and support from family to make that happen. It’s also important they get support for any passions they express interest in, and that these passions are nurtured and developed in a supportive way. During school time, children will often need support from family for things such as homework or projects, especially as these things are usually completed at home without the help of teachers.
Family should help make learning fun for children, and they should try and help the child associate learning with positive memories. This can start from an early age, by playing games, reading books and even being ‘silly’ with imagination games and team activities. By having a fun family who make learning an enjoyable thing to do – children are more likely to embrace school and learning in the future.
2) The Top 10 Best Family Games for Kids and Adults Alike!
Family time is so important for children, and playing games together is a great way to fit in quality family time. Games allow families to bond together, be silly, be competitive and have conversations. They’re a great way for children to feel closer to their parents and family, and they lift everyone’s mood too!
Games come in all shapes and sizes, and whilst some of them are naturally geared more towards children – there are some fantastic games out there that we’ve noticed adults find just as fun too!
This list contains some of our favourite family games, that have something fun for all members of the group (adults and children alike!). These are perfect for games nights, holidays and even long car journeys!
Tin Can Toss Game
This simple and classic game is great for families, and adds a bit of friendly competition to any family gathering or family games night. Some of the best games are super simple – and this tin can toss game is just that. It’s great for children of all ages, even if their aim and throwing abilities are different. Adults will love it too – because it’s a nostalgic and simple can with a fun competitive edge!
Speedy Words is a great game to take on holiday with you, as it’s really portable and doesn’t need much equipment or explaining! The aim of the game is to explain what you can see – and to do it as quickly as possible. It’s great for developing memory skills and also vocabulary recall, and adults will love it for it’s quick-fire rules and simple instructions!
Over Under – The Guesstimate Game
This is a great game for big families, who like playing in big groups. You can split your family into 2 – 4 teams, and each team has to work together to figure out what their guesstimate answer will be. It’s great for encouraging communication, but it’s also a fun way of learning lots of random facts and trivia too!
A super quick-fire game of identifying and swapping out cards. This game is exciting and fun, and it’s easy to understand too (which means it gets bonus points from the adults!). The illustrations on the cards are really colourful and appealing too – so this one is a winner all round.
These aren’t necessarily a game – but could easily be turned into one with a little help from a willing adult! These answer buzzers make a great accessory to ‘quiz nights’ and kids love the interactivity of slamming their hands down on the buzzers. They’re a game changer if you do game nights and quiz nights regularly at home.
OK, this might not seem like a ‘family’ game – but you have to use your imagination a little! If you’re heading away on holiday to a villa, hours of fun can be had with a springy! We recommend buying a couple, and having family competitions of how far the springy can travel, or what tricks you can make the springy do. You’ll be surprised at home competitive family members can get, and it’s something both adults and children will want to get involved with.
Flying Ring Frisbee
When it’s summertime, and you have lots of outdoor space and great weather to take advantage of, sometimes you want a game that can be played outside in the sunshine! This frisbee is a perfect choice for those kind of days, and it’s great fun for adults and children alike. Children will love giving it a go – but they’ll also love watching their parents fail at it! It’s an excuse for everyone to act a bit silly, which make it a really fun choice.
Jacks is a classic low-key game, dating back to pre-war england. It’s still popular though because it’s fun and addictive to play. Once you’ve got the hang of the technique, you’ll find both adults and children feeling extra competitive whilst trying to get the highest score! Jacks is a great game for playing outdoors and indoors – which means it’s great for all year round.
This card game is from the makers of UNO – one of the most popular family card games from the last few decades. This game is just as good as UNO, and it’s just as addictive too! It’s a fun twist on the classic ‘memory game’ so it’s a format your kids will understand and pick up easily too.
Apples To Apples
This game is all about communication and comparisons, and asks you to make random matches and links between random objects. You have to get creative with it, and for children and adults alike, it’s a chance to be silly, make jokes and start conversations too.
3) How to Limit Screen Time for Kids with Family Activities
As parents, many of us want to reduce the amount of screen time our child spends in the evenings and at weekends. Whilst TV and iPads are fantastic for many, it’s important for children to develop other activities, interests and hobbies that are removed from the screen. Studies show that too much time spent on smartphones results in lower physical and mental fitness.
Child psychologists have shown that children respond to time spent with their parents over any other stimuli. This results in them showing greater emotional resilience and independence of thought; both are good defences against the online world which can be quite controlling for some children.
There are many ways to do this, and one of the most effective ways is scheduling in family time to participate in family games and similar activities together as a group.
Our Top Tips:
- Turn off all phones in the family and spend time on family activities
- Set screen free areas in the home ie – not in the bedrooms or at the dinner table
- Avoid using screen time as a distraction or a salve
- Agree electronic free play dates with parents and / or all the family
- Create a list of activities to be enjoyed with the time taken back from solitary screen time
How Can We Help?
Here are some Ideas to provide content and activities that all the family can enjoy:
Family games like Mancala, Outfoxed & Sushi Go:
Mancala This is one of those classic games that deserves to be in every game cupboard; variations of Mancala have been played for over 3000 years! It is a highly tactile game that improves memory, logic and mathematical thinking.
Outfoxed Mrs. Plumpert’s famous pot pie has gone missing! The chickens must work together to crack the case. Will you halt the hungry thief…or will you be Outfoxed?
Sushi Goa fast paced card game for 2-5 players. Pick a card and pass your hand on, just like sushi on a conveyer belt!
4) What is the Importance of Family Dinner Time?
The tradition of sitting down to dinner together is almost as old as the idea of the family unit itself. Unfortunately, the hectic pace of modern life has meant that many families now struggle to find the time to accommodate a proper family dinner. The problem is only made worse by the temptations of technology and the increased popularity of takeaway food, meaning it’s easy for some families to go days or even weeks without sitting down together come dinner time.
This saddening trend is not only damaging to the family as a unit, but could also jeopardise the proper development of the children and alienate them from their parents. Fortunately, there are plenty of measures that can be taken to ensure family mealtimes don’t fall by the wayside. Below are a handful of benefits that family dinner time can bestow upon its participants, as well as some ideas on how to promote the practice in your own household.
The Advantages of Eating Together
Countless studies have demonstrated that when families eat together, everyone benefits. For starters, youngsters can see vast developmental improvement in a number of areas, from their dexterity and manipulation of their cutlery to promoting both language and social skills and teaching them the value of patience.
It’s not just the youngest children who will profit, either. A Canadian study from 2017 found that eating together promotes robust mental health among all diners, with those exposed to the practice from a young age less likely to develop symptoms of depression or other mental health problems later in life. Meanwhile, a supervised dinner allows you to make sure that your children are eating a nutritious meal – as well as completing their homework – which has been proven to boost their educational performance, as well.
Moreover, family mealtime represents a unique opportunity for everyone to come together and reconnect, reinforcing the family bond that video games, extra-curricular activities and erratic work patterns can put under strain. And, of course, home-cooked meals are significantly cheaper than buying takeaways, not to mention the fact that they’re generally much healthier
Top Tips for Supporting Family Dinner Times
The first step to reintroducing a family mealtime is establishing a routine. This may be difficult to begin with, especially if the kids aren’t used to parting with their phones, iPads and other technological distractions during dinner, but it will become easier over time. Don’t be afraid to introduce ground rules; banning technology is an obvious one, but eating while seated and not interrupting others are good ideas too. Use a reward chart system (with the help of a reward stamp set to encourage positive behaviour.
Consider beginning each evening meal with a few moments of reflection and gratitude, since taking the time to appreciate one another will strengthen the family bond. Encouraging the use of a children’s diary can be a great way to get them to consider things they’re thankful for and can help out when it comes to their turn to say thanks. Speaking of taking turns, playing games such as Tumble Tree and Rat-a-Tat Cards before or after the meal can be effective in teaching the importance of patience and letting others have their go, all the while increasing time spent together.
Finally, it’s essential that these mealtimes are seen as a pleasure rather than a chore by all members of the family. The key to achieving that is through the creation of a positive atmosphere where everyone is listened to and has their voice heard. Children can also be given the choice of what they would like to eat (remembering to keep those choices healthy, with plenty of stress-reducing foods like berries, broccoli and sweet potatoes) and even involved in the cooking process itself. The sense of inclusivity this breeds is worth its weight in gold when forging a strong, supportive family unit.