Between work and the rest of our busy schedules, it can be difficult to find time to spend together as a family. Often, when we do find time, this means sitting down for a meal together, or watching a movie. However, there’s another big way to spend time together and have fun while doing it: a family game night!Playing games is something we’ve all grown up doing, whether it’s tag in the back yard or hide-and-go-seek at recess. Many of us remember playing Candy Land or Connect Four growing up, but for many families, games are simply a way to keep kids occupied, a distraction to let parents get things done around the house. Next time you’re thinking of spending some time together as a family, try pulling out some of those old games, or even getting some new ones.Games are fun, but there’s much more to it than that. As your kids are growing up, playing games with them can teach them a number of skills. This includes number and shape recognition, counting, reading, and hand-eye coordination. It can also help with critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and understanding different fields, like finance (for games like Monopoly). Having a structured game night also teaches social skills, like waiting your turn, communicating, and interacting with others. This is a chance to teach your kids that the purpose of games isn’t always to win. Winning can feel great, but so can enjoying a game with people you care about. Learning good sportsmanship skills will go a long way as they mature. Finally, games all have rules, and learning to play by them is the best way to win. Seeing this as an example can help teach your kids the importance of rules without feeling like you have to lecture them.In the age of technology, we often see people with their faces buried in their phones or computers. When kids are bored, they often sit for hours in front of the TV. Bonding through playing games can result in kids pulling out board games the next time they’re bored, rather than just sitting in front of the TV or looking for the laptop. Having game nights shows kids that there are media-free options for entertainment, and that they can have more fun interacting with people.One of the most important things a family game night can result in is decreased stress. One thing that most games have in common is that they make us laugh. Even if it’s just for an hour or two, laughing and having fun with the family helps decrease stress from everything else we have going on in our lives. Being excited about an upcoming game night is motivation to push through the day-to-day grind. Lastly, most board games are inexpensive, which can save you money over the latest video game. So, the next time you want to spend some quality family time, consider a game night!