Asking a teen or tween if they want to play a board game, doesn’t always get the desired reaction. You know that they’ll have fun and enjoy doing something different, but they don’t know that. With some children, just the fact that you are asking them to do something is enough to elicit a negative response. Sometimes instead of asking our children if they want to play a game, the best way is to just distract them into it.
- No discussion. Dish out playing cards with dinner. Lead the first trick and see what happens. No discussion, just cards. Your children are more likely to want to play than answer questions about their day while they eat. Draw out dinner and play around the plates.
- Set up an irresistible game. Games that look pretty on the table or take up a lot of space are hard to walk past. Choose a time when your children are likely to appear and make sure a game is pre-set. Some lovely components will be a big draw.
- Feign indifference. Choose a game with a one or two player variants and set it up to play alone, or with another adult. Show your excitement around setup and play, but don’t directly ask them to join in. The fact that you are focused on the game and not them may be intriguing enough to draw them in.
- Play standing up. Grab a small game to play at the kitchen counter. The fact that you are standing up suggests that the time investment is low – the game is just a pause in the day – rather than a major event. Catch your children when they go past with a “Oh, have a quick look at this…”
- Catch them when they’re bored. Train your eye for the symptoms of boredom – aimless wandering, fridge-gazing and sibling taunting and swoop in with a game. When there is nothing more interesting happening in their world, your chances of success increase.
- Rope in an influencer. Get someone that your child likes or admires to come and play with you. A respected third party is much more of a draw than a parent. Their enthusiasm and excitement about playing will rub off on your teenager and frame the experience in a new light.