Family Game Night: We Play to Win

My family plays to win!

My family plays to win!

I grew up with family game night, and the tradition continues with my own family. My husband, seven-year-old daughter and I enjoy all sorts of games from “trash” (our favorite card game) to Sorry (our favorite board game) to Start the Party (our favorite video game). But we have one important rule: we play to win.

Yes, that’s right. I make my kid play to win and I don’t “rig” a game to let her win. I’m sure there are parenting experts and psychiatrists who think I am too harsh and should let her win on occasion, and there are probably the same caliber of experts who think I’m doing the right thing. At the end of the day, I want to teach my kid how to play the game… and how to win and lose. I happily help her develop a game strategy, or explain a way to win, but I don’t sacrifice my game to “let” her win.

Oddly enough, she can hold her own, and more often than not, she beats me fair and square.

For example, we just recently purchased Clue, one of my all-time favorite board games. The Kid and I were a team, and we took on Daddy as our opponent. I walked her through the game, explained the objective and some basic strategies. The next day, she and I played each other - the first time she is playing this game by herself — and she beat me. Fair and square. She was so excited, and now we play that game all the time.

We also spend rainy afternoons playing PlayStation’s Start the Party, an interactive video game that uses a motion controller to play physical games where you pop balloons with a stick, catch balls with nets and scare away ghosts with flashlights. This game gets you up and moving, and you can see yourself on the TV, so it requires hand-eye coordination. This was a new kind of game for The Kid, so I didn’t want her to be frustrated and quit before she even started. So, I quickly learned to set her game-play level at “easy” and mine at “hard” to level the playing field. This allows her to win on occasion, but I can still show her that I am trying my hardest and she can honorably log a “W.”

This post was inspired by participation with the PlayStation Family, where amazing women share thoughts on kids, tech and games each month. While PlayStation is my client, these thoughts are mine and I did not receive compensation for writing this post. #PSFamily

Photo credit: Christmas Unwrapped

5 Responses to “Family Game Night: We Play to Win”


  1. 1 Gina von

    I am with you- I don’t rig the games either, I did when the little ones were 3 and needed a little inspiration but that was short lived. They figured out how fun friendly competition can be and then it was each player for themselves. If I am lucky I can beat them on the PS3; and I am usually not so lucky!

  2. 2 Jennifer Wagner

    Great choice of games. We’ve always been very big on playing games together in my family. Card games, board games and video games. There is nothing better than playing with your kids, no matter how young or old they are.

  3. 3 Amy Heinz

    I love your approach! My issue right now is my 5 yo constantly beating the 3 yo. I don’t want him to lose on purpose, but let’s just say we’re working on sportsmanship.

  4. 4 Dyani

    Family game nights are a great way to facilitate bonding and teach kids and parents alike helpful lessons: strategy, teamwork, sportsmanship — and confidence. As they say, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

  5. 5 Hilal

    It’s ipoartmnt to remember that not all kids are the same and they need a chance to learn to be gracious as winners AND losers. If my sons asked me to take it easy, I would, and they let one another win sometimes. At only (nearly) 8 and (nearly) 6, they don’t get worked up too much when they lose, and they’re very kind when they win.I’m a lucky dad!

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