Meetings for Professionals and Families
Introduction to Family Games
Do you schedule meetings with professionals and their families? If so, you might consider having some family games to encourage better family communication. Family games will also help to make your meeting into a memorable experience rather than just another meeting. We recommend two family games:
Our Family Game
When playing Our Family Game we invite up to five pairs of a parent and teen or pre-teen to be our on stage contestants.
We blindfold the children. After the children are securely blindfolded we provide the parents with heavy paper attached to a clipboard or a small white/black board and a marker. Then we ask the parents to write a one word answer to each of the following four questions. How:
- Would your child describe you?
- Do you want your child to describe you?
- Would you describe your child?
- Does your child want you to describe them?
We make photos of the parent standing behind or beside their child while the child holds the board. Then we ask the children to tell us what is written on the board while remaining blindfolded.
While the match rate between children and parents answers in Our Family Game is fairly low, we find that our on-stage contestants and audience enjoy the game. We also understand participating in this game facilitate parent–child communications after our program ends.
That’s My Parent
We offer two versions of another one of our family games, That’s My Parent. (If only moms or only dads are participating we change the game name slightly.) The first version is for younger children. The second version is for teens and pre-teens. In both versions we bring four or five pairs of parents and children on stage to be our contestants. We blindfold the children and group them together on one side of the stage. We bring the parents together on the other side of the stage.
Younger Children Version
Each of the blindfolded children shakes hands with each of the parents. The children tell us which parent is theirs while remaining blindfolded, of course. We make photos of the children with the parent they selected. When multiple children select the same parent we ask them to resolve among themselves who (if anyone) correctly selected their parent. Later, we may also have the children and their selected parent have a snack together. Younger children perform very well in this family game.
Teen and Pre-Teen Version
When working with older children rather than having the children shake hands with the parents we have the children ask each parent Yes/No questions about what they do at work. The parents hold up a Yes or a No sign. A moderator reads the sign and tells the children whether or not they were correct. Then the children identify their parents based on the answers to their questions. We group the parents and the children who selected them together. The parent who collects the most children (not counting their own) is the winner. Extra points are awarded if their own child chooses another parent. The child is considered a winner if they select their own parent. Next, we make photos and encourage the children who have selected the same parent to resolve who (if anyone) really belongs to the selected parent.
After the photo opportunities we encourage the new families to get to know each other.
We find that contestants and audience enjoy the game, but that very few of the teens and preteens correctly identify their parent based on the answers to these questions. We have been told that we are meeting our goals of encouraging children and parents to improve communication and learn about the professions practices by all of our parent participants.
Family Games Conclusion
We believe that both of our family games improve communications between parents and their children. We also believe that children gain appreciation for what their parents do at work in the That’s My Parent game.