Heaven knows we all love our electronic devices. Who among us hasn’t woken up face down in a laptop, the imprint of the home row indented on our faces? Still; as much as these technological wonders keep us connected, they can also drive us apart. Time to put down the iPad, Mom, and rally the troops for an old-fashioned game night!

Step One: Unplug your family. Grab a basket or box and collect those cellphones, DS’s, and other e-distractions. Warning: Your moody teenager will resist this analog interaction. This is just the tech withdrawal talking. Once she owns a few railroads in Monopoly she’ll fall into a rhythm of family fun that’s undeniable.

Step Two: Gather a variety of age-appropriate games. Get Cranium, Scrabble, Scattergories, and Trivial Pursuit for the older kids. For the squirrely youngin’s, Scavenger for Kids and Kids on Stage are fun and funny games the encourage kids to move. Apples to Apples, Sorry, Monopoly, Life, Clue, and Yatzee are classics that the whole family will enjoy!

Step Three: Break into a game and get started! After a few game nights a pattern may begin to emerge. In my family, I am the type-A aunty who always has to read the directions before we begin. My 8-year-old niece, Hope, always sets up the board and chooses each player’s color or symbol (she’s a good girl and always gives her aunty the top hat in Monopoly)! My nephew Gavin keeps the pace of the game moving – though sometimes he skips his sister to take his turn. We’re working on it.

Step Four: Snacks. Something healthy enough that you can graze on it for hours, but yummy enough that you will want to graze on it for hours. I like fruit and veggie wedges with peanut butter, ranch dressing, or hummus. Popcorn is also an easy way to go, and it’s great for throwing at the offender when someone bumps you back to start in Sorry!

Additional Info: It is especially important to play a fair game and follow the rules with kids. Games teach kids to be patient and wait their turn, to follow directions, to be strategic and weigh their options, and how to be a good winner or loser.

This weekend turn off the TV, pick up a board game and bring the brood together for a few hours of fun family time that they – and you! – will always cherish.

And remember: the loser has to put away the game. Rules are rules!