This post is by Ian Macdonald – a trainer with Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
Summer holidays are usually split between catching up on those work tasks you annually put to one side as a ‘holiday job’, and taking time to spend with the kids. I never really expect the two to cross over, but this summer they did with rather productive results!
My boys love board games, and my youngest has always reached for card games when he can (no, we’re not talking black jack or poker before you go there…). One of his favourites has been Happy Families – the one where you have to collect all the members of a family and then as many complete families as you can. One of our ‘home’ days in the summer was spent playing this, and half way though he exclaimed ‘none of these families are like ours…or my friends’…’ Of course, he was right, each family was as nuclear as you can get – mum, dad, brother, sister. Are families really like that?
So as a family we embarked on creating our own version which was more representative of what they, and us grown-ups, come across today. We had great fun and lots of discussion creating them, and even tested them with some teachers and health professionals, including occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. This final result is included below, along with instructions on how to play. If you want to use them in school I’d suggest laminating them if you can and even trying to come up with your own families to add to it (we’d love to hear if you do that!).
The general idea is not just to have a useful game to show that families are not as nuclear as they used to be, but also to encourage children to put themselves in the shoes of others in those families, gaining emotional intelligence through exploring what can impact on our wellbeing and help us be more resilient. The instruction sheet has discussion prompts for each family to start you off.
I’m very open to feedback and suggestions on how to improve them, so do get in touch!