Are you competitive when you play games with your children?

Let me start by saying that I have huge respect for parents with an endless (endless!!) patience; parents who can play silly games with their children and let them win over and over again.

I am not one of those parents.

Of course I do sometimes play those silly games, and I do let my children win — it is important to keep them entertained and motivated and I love seeing their cute little faces light up when they believe they have won. But, I enjoy myself more when I can be a bit competitive. When I’m challenged a bit as well. And yes — I do let my kids loose! (Is that mean? Perhaps it is not a bad thing? Isn’t it an important life lesson, to learn how to loose, to be a good sport about it and try again until you win?)


The games I like best are those where the child is an equal or even stronger opponent. I love it when there’s a real competition going on, and we both have an equal (fair!) chance in winning or loosing. This gets easier when the child gets older — naturally. But also younger children can win from adults with certain games!

For smaller children, for example, Bingo is nice, because it’s more about luck than strategy. Casper, who is 6, is super good at Memory. He beats me (and everyone else in our family!) all the time! Games like Ludo and Dobble are good ones to play with smaller children too.
With Ava (9), I love playing Set, Otrio and Uno. I like to witness how she’s becoming more strategic in her play. Pim (12), with his entrepreneurial mind, loves to play Monopoly. This is not my favourite game, possibly because I’m not great with money, and I always loose. (So frustrating!) Rummikub is a favourite too, we both like that game very much!
And lastly with Sara (14) I’ve started to play Scrabble. I used to play Scrabble with my mum and have fond memories of that.

Another good game to play with children is Yahtzee. It’s played open so it’s easy to help the little ones with their tactics, and nobody can control the dice, so it’s all about luck!

Tell me, what sort of parent are you? Can you play endlessly without winning, or are you secretly a bit competitive too? If so — what are your favourite games to play with your children?

xxx Esther

PS Seventeen great travel games and this month’s product guide, games on the go! Also: do you remember these games from when we were young?


Comments (6)

July 6, 2019

Totally agree. Two of my boys have a hard time loosing and family games are a great way of learnig this though and important lesson smoothly.
I don’t know if it’s because they’re boys they really enjoy strategy games like catan, risk and monopoly, games i really don’t have the patience for… They also play chess and they teaching me. They always win (even the 8year old) and they really enjoy it!
When they were younger, the memory games were the best to even the balance you talk about. They have this enormous visual memory and they play it with absolutly no method, wich drives me crase, because i ‘work’ by sections!…
Other family games always on troughout the years around here that i think you’d like to know of you don’t: dizia, katamino, shut-the-box and Piou Piou. *s

Esther in Amsterdam
July 8, 2019

Thank you! I immediately ordered some of the games you mentioned :). And I hear you about the Memory game — drives me nuts as well! Haha 🙂

July 7, 2019

I totally get your point! I think children should experience loosing as well, otherwise they’ll grow up into people convinces they’re the only ones allowed to win in real life. And I totally feel the same joy when my children start to challenge me in games! It’s an incredible feeling that finally their mind gets to adult levels! I love most when my children beat me because they’re better 🙂
My younger son is very emphatetic and he’s really sorry when we wins with me. I have to explain him that’s the biggest joy for mother to see her children grow 🙂

July 9, 2019

You have always given me helpful tips through the years. First time posting. Blokus…Totally addictive thinking game. Look it up. Brilliant one

Esther in Amsterdam
July 9, 2019

Oh thanks! (For both the sweet feedback as well as the tip!) xx

Rebecca Gaines
August 4, 2019

We love a game called ‘Beat The Parents’. It is a trivial pursuit type board game and is also great for learning. I would say as parents, my husband and I are quite competitive but as our children are older (14,12,10) its fun to have a bit of competition. The children did actually beat us at last nights game! We also like to play Uno and scrabble.

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