In this post: With a full schedule, it can be tricky to make family game night a priority. Here are five tips to help you make it a habit.


Family game nights are a great way to spend time together as a family. They bring about togetherness in a way that fosters sportsmanship, teaches teamwork, and expands horizons. Well done, they can be filled with laughter, learning, and frivolous fun. However, it can be tricky to make family game night a priority. So, I’ve put together 5 tips we use to keep these family times happening on the regular! 

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5 Ways to Make Family Game Night a Habit

Remember that family game night does not have to mean board or card games. There is no reason that your family cannot bond over Minecraft, NBA 2K18 or even Jackbox games.

The goal is to have fun as a family, and in today’s connected world, that may mean that you are bonding over a gaming system.

Remember, the key to a successful family game night is finding something that everyone can enjoy doing, even if that means laughing at dad’s horrible driving skills on Forza.

01. Get it on the Calendar

Choose a night when you have nothing else going on.

For your family, that may mean that you do not have a family game night every Thursday.

Instead, pick a night that works for your family, rather than trying to bend the schedule around it.

  • For some families, that may be a once a month get-together on Sunday afternoons.
  • For others, it is a regular family date every Friday night, because that is the only night during the week when there are no sports practices, evening meetings, or mandatory overtime.

Every few weeks, sit down with your family and pick a few upcoming evenings that are currently free. Put your family game night on the calendar so that those evenings stay free.

Tip: Use silly reminders in the days leading up to the fun night. Post-it notes, invitations, and calendar notifications can help everyone remember to keep their calendar free!

02. Unplug

Family game night should be a night where there are no phones, tablets, or other devices unless you are using a gaming system for your games.

Nothing wrecks a game of Uno faster than waiting while mom takes a phone call.

Turn your devices off and leave them in another room, or organize priority settings on your phone if there is a call that you definitely cannot miss.

03. Plan a Fun Dinner

Start the fun early by making a fun dinner together.

Find a family-friendly recipe on Pinterest and let the kids help you shop for the ingredients. You can make the dinner as a family before you set up the Monopoly board.

If you are short on time, order a special dinner to be delivered, or pick up take-out so that it is a memorable occasion. A special dessert guarantees that your kids will want to schedule the next game night soon!

Related: Everything you need for outdoor entertaining and hospitality this year

04. Keep It Close

Limit family game night to just your immediate family, at least at first.

If you try to invite people initially, you will end up re-arranging schedules, and you may need to deal with last minute cancellations. Instead, wait until family game night is already a habit before you invite others to join you.

05. Make Sure Competition Remains Friendly

You may need to set a few ground rules to make sure that sibling rivalry does not turn ugly.

Friendly competition is great, but no one is going to have a good time if someone’s feelings get hurt. That may mean that some games are off limits, or that you pair up children with parents for certain types of games to help even out skill levels.

You may need to alternate more demanding games like Monopoly with easier games such as Candyland, depending on your kids’ ages.

Use family game night as a chance to talk about sportsmanship and how vital it is to respect others’ abilities. When everyone is having a good time, it is much easier to make the family game night a habit, because your kids will be eager to have the next one.

5 ways to make family game night a habit, two wood die with black dots

For busy families, the family game night is a great way to spend time together and slow down the pace of hectic day-to-day lives. By building an atmosphere of fun, laughter, and silliness, you will be helping your children to learn skills and develop bonds that will benefit them in many ways throughout their lives.

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