MANY important life lessons can be taught to a five-year-old with a round of Monopoly Junior, writes Sara Fitzpatrick.
And if you’re after a Christmas gift with a little more value than DIY slime or a Zing ZAX Throwing Axe, this is it.
At the top of the list: Make the most of what you have.
So all you own is a dirt-cheap Burger Joint and a public Swimming Pool nobody visits.
You’re down to your last $4 and well on your way to a third stint in jail.
But just around the corner lies the coveted Candy Store and pretty soon you’ll pass Go and collect $2.
Second essential life lesson: Nobody likes a cheat.
I loved playing Monopoly as a kid, board games were a big deal in my household.
From Yahtzee to Pictionary, Guess Who, Cluedo, Balderdash and Scattergories, our study shelves housed quite the stash.
I played with my mum, sister, brother, friends and when I couldn’t find a partner I played against myself – one of me as the top hat, the other the battleship (never the thimble, who would want to be a thimble?)
I was mad for it. I took that passion into pre-kid adulthood, hosting games’ nights in my lounge room.
A lot of drinking and general shenanigans ensued (sometimes tears) before we’d call it quits and head to The Manor.
When I discovered a junior version of the Parker Brothers’ classic at Kmart earlier this year, I jumped to buy it.
I thought: “Oh, this will be such fun!” And it was, for the first few minutes.
In Monopoly Junior, properties include the Ice Cream Parlour, Zoo, Skate Park, Museum and my favourite: the Library.
Chance cards read: ‘You ate too many sweets pay $2 to the bank!’ Adorable. ‘You did all your homework collect $2!’ Ah – if only life was this simple.
The game starts well – my daughter as Little Scottie the dog and me as the green Toy Car – and then I land on the Movie Theatre.
“Please don’t buy it, Mummy,” she begs with tears starting to well. “That’s my favourite.”
Now, ordinarily I would have said: “Ok, I’ll roll again.”
But not this time: this was a moment for me to win at parenting.
And truth be told, I wanted that Movie Theatre.
So I paid my $3 and placed a racing car token on it. She cried and I stood my ground, saying: “I know it’s tough but you can’t always have it your way. Life doesn’t work like that.”
“There is a whole board left to buy,” I went on. “Look, the Bowling Alley is coming up.”
She wiped away tears and rolled a 2, landing on my Pet Store.
Refusing to pay rent she then pretended the dice said 6, putting her instead on Chance. “I don’t play with cheats,” I said.
As parents, we have to be sticklers (at least some of the time) right? Kids need to learn how to lose and it’s our job to teach them.
And while this is hard for a little person to understand, I felt like drilling the point home.
We recommenced playing and I scored the Chance card Advance to Boardwalk – that’s when things fell apart.
“If you keep crying I’m not playing,” I said. She kept crying and that was that. Game over.
Each time we play she gets a little better. We made strides with Snakes and Ladders last night. I won and she actually congratulated me.
Monopoly will take a little longer but I’ll make a successful loser out of her yet – and help her win at life.
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