So right now there is an urgent demand and pressure on schools and families to take into account the wellbeing of not only their children but of themselves. (*edit - we can now offer Imagination Gaming sessions remotely... see here!)
With lockdown and the associated isolation the regular daily interaction we take for granted became a thing of the past. Families and children have spent even more time on screens and less time interacting with peers and friends.
Online and screen based gaming is already linked to the following issues in both children and adults:
- Sleep problems.
- Problematic internet use.
- Negative effect on school performance.
- Risky behaviors.
- Sexting and privacy and predators.
So it is expected to see an increase in all of these issues as children return to school and with the pressure on teachers to catch up on lost time and work, games can provide a simple yet engaging way to help address some of the issues above by considering the areas below.
Clinical Psychologist Hazel Harrison put together five easy steps to promote well-being and we are looking in turn at how games can deliver these steps...
Be Yourself (Look at what you can do, not at what you can’t!)
Games are a great way to highlight individual strengths. Whilst some children may be good with words, others may be better with numbers and yet others with shapes. Understanding that everyone is different and we each have their own strengths is a great way of reinforcing the message of being yourself.
Be Grateful (Highlight things we do right and not what we do wrong)
With more time spent on thinking I should look like this or behave like that it's hard to be grateful for who you are and what you have. Highlight what children have done right over the course of a game, ‘What about that move you made that defeated the monster!’ and have other players congratulate them.
Be Mindful (Focus on the now and what is real)
Sat with a group of friends laughing and challenging yourself over a game is a perfect way of focusing on the now rather than what might be. The right games require concentration and reaction to what others might do so no time to focus on other’s things and elsewhere. Repeat play will reinforce this mindset.
Be Kind (How good does it feel when you help someone and see them smile?)
Helping to achieve a common goal and sharing in a win is great but helping someone else to achieve success can bring a different sort of reward and in its own way can reinforce friendships and develop the want in others to do the same for you.
Be Resilient (Losing is easy but winning takes effort, but boy it feels good)
One of the hardest skills to develop is coming back from a failure or set back in a positive light. Too quickly children will give up or ask for assistance, letting others do what they should do for themselves. Again games are the perfect vehicle to develop this mindset, with quick repeatable fun activities where achievements and progress can be measured in real time and allowing children to see for themselves the results of their efforts.
So let’s look at some examples of games which can help to do this. From working with younger children, foundation ages, up to young adults.
Younger children:/ Foundation Age
Woolfy (DJECO Games) ... here
Little Cooperation (DJECO Games) ...here
At this age we will focus on team play and winning and losing together, to share the thinking, the winning and losing together.
Key Stage 1
Dentaday (LOGIS Games) ...here
Curse of the Pirates Gold (HABA Games) ...here
As we get a little older we find games with a little more meaning and a bit of competition. Luck can play a big part but fun is still the key.
Lower Key Stage 2
Clever Fit (LOGIS Games) ...here
Matchify Range (PickyKwiky Games ) ...here
We are now getting to the age where thinking and skill becomes an important factor alongside the meaning. Fun however is still a central component. Children begin to understand how to win and improve their game play.
Upper Key Stage 2
Sussed Range (Games to Get Games) ...here
Lets Catch The Lion (EiSystem Games) ...here
As we reach the end of Primary School strategy and deeper meaning become more relevant and the hunger to learn more becomes much more evident. Games with simple rules yet hidden levels of skill become more popular as well as those with the ability to highlight an individual's traits.
Key Stage 3
The Mind (Coiledspring Games) ...here
Bandido (HelvetIQ Games) ...here
By the time that Secondary School has been reached competition can sometimes get too much so a return to cooperative games is found to be very popular at this time. The deeper thinking and discussion of strategies is a great way of building relationships and understanding of others strengths.
So while there are lots of issues to contend with, there are also lots of simple, quick and elegant ways to help combat these using traditional tabletop games. Interactive, highly social and containing a range of thinking and curriculum based skills they are the perfect foil to the online generation whilst retaining a cool and fun feel irrespective of age.
If you haven’t already, try them. Don’t be afraid of rules, there are countless videos explaining how to play them. If you are worried you won’t understand the games, don’t. There are children playing these right now, face your fear and give them a go! The difference and fun they can help bring your family is significant and it will help stave off those mental health issues that are far too easy to pick up nowadays.
Give it a go and if you are ever unsure or need that helping hand……..get in touch.
That’s why we are here…….. firstname.lastname@example.org