I’m sure you’ve heard the term “analysis paralysis”, or as I like to call it, “vapor lock”. This is when the individual playing the game is unable to make a choice in a reasonable amount of time or at all. Some board games can require a player to make very hard choices on what they should (or should not) do on their turn. Sometimes, the number of choices (or lack thereof) can cause the brain to spin its gears and doubt creeps in. Doubt creates worry; worry creates stress; stress creates the vapor lock.
End result: crabby kids…
When playing with kids (or anyone, for that matter), you should absolutely not push them to make a choice. This is unnecessary pressure and stress. Besides, the goal is to have fun. Pushing your children to make choices is not the way to go. However, nor should you simply let your child take forever to determine what they want to do. After all, there are others who want a turn and the game should not drag on indefinitely. So, how to balance?
You don’t want to push and you don’t want to lead, that would be playing for them. The balance is struck by simply talking about what needs to be done. Ask questions like what the goal of the game is, what their strategy is, what tactics can they employ? By talking about the problem, you can get the player’s mind back on track. More times than not, all it takes is a quick breather and a different point-of-view to get the game going again. If you talk about the issues, the player will develop their own conclusions and solutions. Self-empowerment is a beautiful thing.
Best of all, this tactic of problem solving through supportive, caring dialog between you and your child is applicable to any and all aspects of your family life. Creating and nurturing self-confidence is the goal. We want to raise thinkers and doers who understand and can accept risk. Games provide a safe medium for critical thinking and experimentation with cause and effect without real world penalties. No one lost a thumb or went bankrupt because they couldn’t trade 3 brick for 1 wheat.
Help your young players to keep the game in perspective. Yes, it’s fun to win, but it’s even more fun to enjoy the game.
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Hi Father Geek! What a cool blog.. great post here… thanks for reminding us of the reason we play in the first place! Love that pic…!
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Thank you, Dawn!
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hi, following you from thursday blog hop!
lol i love their expressions 🙂 but yes i agree being pushy with your kids seems to generate negativity in them and there is a need to strike a balance for them to learn about the real world which is easily achievable through constructive and creative play, and not through forcing them to think like an adult. my son loves to lead with play and tends to jump from game to game in the blink of an eye and at his age its absolutely fine (he’s 3). he’s so creative he could one minute be batman, and the next minute running his own pet shop with his toys lol! makes life interesting 🙂 but it allows us to introduce a lot of different concepts to him (which is great as we homeschool him) and as a result he seems to be very smart and confident for his age which i can only attribute to him having the flexibility to find his way of understanding things through play.
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Moonangelnay Handmade Blog
Thank you for your excellent comment and feedback! It inspired me to address an issue you eluded to. You can read it here.
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