When talking about the natural family, we tend to think mainly of our position in relation to allopathic medicine.

This is as it should be. Of all the areas relating to the raising of a healthy, natural family, no issue stands out as more contentious. But it is not the only area of natural parenting that deserves attention.

Parenting involves a lot more than our medical decisions. Natural parenting, by its very nature, is wholistic. It involves not only the whole child, socially, physically and emotionally – it involves the whole family.

A family may have strong views on natural medicine and natural birth, for example, but what of the natural families approach to the social and emotional well being of the children.

Cheryl Critchley, reporting in the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper August 19, 2009 noted that recent research highlighted the positive impact of board games on a families well being.

Playing board games at least weekly helped improve the childrens concentration, social interaction and co-operation with siblings.

It also boosted a childs patience, concentration, teamwork, sharing, social interaction, communication, sportsmanship, critical thinking skills, maths and spelling.

A major nation-wide study (OMD Insights study) into playing board games has revealed that putting a family games night on the agenda provides much more than fun and games, with a host of unexpected benefits including increased communication, improvements in key learning areas and positive behavioural changes.

The study (of 125 Australian families aged 5-12) also showed that board games are bucking the social trends of the digital age providing a catalyst to return to family values and spending quality time together.

It seems that in our quest for natural parenting, you can do a lot worse than the humble board game.

Good quality games that teach, are fun and take your family to another time and place are still excellent ways to ensure that the natural parenting you began when your kids were born, continues in the simple things. And just as was with snakes and ladders in India some thousand years ago, board games are still at the top of that “ordinary list”.