The 7 Stages of Playing a Board Game with Your Toddler

toddlerboardgameIt was a frigid day and cabin fever threatened our happy home. The boys had been home sick for days¬†and, with outdoor temperatures dropping far below freezing, I wasn’t about to take them for a walk around the icy neighborhood to pass the time. So I decided to do what any fresh-out-of-ideas mom would: I pulled out a board game, a.k.a. wholesome, screen-less family fun for everyone! What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out, a lot can go wrong when one of your children is a willful 2-year-old. Presenting, the seven stages of trying to play a board game with your toddler …

Stage 1: Misguided Optimism

We’ll all play together! Maybe moving his piece along the game board will even help my younger one learn his numbers!

Stage 2: Chipper Compromise

It appears that the toddler prefers smashing the board with his game piece instead of actually moving it along the squares as the rules suggest. Perhaps he’d be better off sitting in my lap and playing with me? Yes, that’s it! We’ll make a great, cuddly team!

Stage 3: The Lap Rejection

So sitting in my lap isn’t working all that well because, as it turns out, my toddler’s definition of “come sit nicely with Mommy” is actually, “come jump on Mommy’s lap and bump her chin with my hard head.” No worries! Maybe he’d be better off playing on his own while the older kid and myself continue the game? Yes, that should work for everyone.

Stage 4: Avoiding Game Piece Ingestion

Look at how well he’s playing by himself! Wait, what’s that in his hand? It looks like he’s trying to put it in his mou … YOU STOP THAT THIS INSTANT! THAT IS NOT FOOD!

Stage 5: Wanderlust Anxiety

Phew, he doesn’t seem fascinated with the game pieces anymore. In fact, he seems content to just go play in another room. That should be fine, yes? The other room is totally child-proofed, isn’t it? He should be OK in there by himself for another 15 minutes while we keep playing the game, right? Right? RIGHT?!? Oh my God, I think he’s going to climb to the top of the shelves and jump off! GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!

Stage 6: Back to the Lap

Ouch, my #%@#%@ chin!

Stage 7: The End of the Game

The toddler decides to flip the game board like it’s a table on The Real Housewives of New Jersey¬†… and we’re done. Good game, everybody! Let’s shake hands like good sports and then turn on the TV for seven straight hours while Mommy pops an Advil and considers running away to join a cult.

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

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