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Game Night
Family Pets Offer Stress-reducing Benefits

Studies have shown that spending time with a pet can lower a person's stress hormones [source: Coren]. So why not find a way to incorporate Fluffy and Fido into your family traditions?

Let's face it: Not all family traditions are created equal. Some events and activities are appreciated by certain family members more than others. For instance, an evening at the opera with your great aunt might be something you look forward to every year, but it's hardly something your children would want to partake in. However, if there's one tradition that everyone, both young and old, can enjoy it's family game night.

Game night is family bonding masked as fun. It's generally devoid of the tension of forced activities, and it allows parents and children to temporarily live in the moment and forget the stresses of the day. Not to mention, play can have a healing, restorative effect on families [source: Reznick].

If you're considering taking up this tradition, feel free to get creative. Just because toy and novelty manufacturers promote family game night in their marketing campaigns doesn't necessarily mean you have to play board games (although that can be a fun alternative). Do something that your family finds enjoyable: video games, shooting hoops, miniature golf, charades, scrabble, horseshoes ... the choices are virtually unlimited. Just don't get stuck in a rut. Anything can become boring if it's done week after week.

Many people believe in the benefits of our next tradition. Will it be right for your family?

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