Not too long ago, I realized that my family wasn’t getting good quality time together. We were always so busy dealing with work, school, homework, dance classes, birthday parties, etc…. There never seemed to be any time left just for us.
My husband and I decided that needed to change. We implemented Friday Family Nights. Every Friday night we keep the calendar clear so that we can share some quality time with the kids. You may consider doing the same thing. Scheduling family time, just one night a week, can help you and your children reap the benefits of connection and bonding.
Here are some fun family night ideas that will help you share quality time together:
Make Dinner Together
Make having a meal together part of your family night ritual. Plan a meal that everyone likes and get the family involved in cooking it together. Kids are more likely to try new foods and enjoy their meal if they are involved in making it. This is an activity everyone can participate in together. Even little ones can help with measuring and stirring.
Have intentional conversation
There are many studies that show that children whose families eat regular meals together have a decreased chance of abusing drugs and alcohol, do better in school and are less likely to develop eating disorders. One reason for this is that it gives children a chance to talk and discuss what is going on in their lives. Encourage conversation at the dinner table by asking each member of the family what the best and worst part of their day was. My family calls this our “High, Low” and we do this at every family meal. This is a great conversation starter and it gives every member of the family a chance to be heard and to share what is happening in their daily lives.
Play board games
Board games can be an easy way to get in some fun family time. Choose games that can be played by all members of the family. In our family Sorry, Trouble and Uno seem to be among the favorites. These are games that even our 4 year old can participate in. Board games help get us laughing and teasing and having an all around good time.
Get out and exercise
Going for a stroll after dinner, heading to the park, or taking a bike ride are ways to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air as well as get your bodies moving. My family loves to play catch. Not only is exercising a healthy way to spend time together but it gets you out of the house and away from things that can distract you from focusing on each other. Things like the phone, computer or television, can be a major distraction from some good quality face time.
Let the Kids choose the activity
One way to get the kids involved is to take turns choosing what you do on family night. My daughter likes to have dinner picnic style on the carpet while we watch a movie. My son recently wanted to play with clay together. We try to take turns accommodating everyone. This is a good strategy to get less complaining and more involvement from the children.
Get back to the basics
Family nights don’t have to be complicated or involve a lot of money. Get back to some of the basics that you enjoyed as a child. Simple games like charades and hide and seek have brought the most fun to our family nights. We also have a good time asking “would you rather” questions or doing a puzzles.
Whatever you decide to do, make family nights a priority. Schedule time on the calendar and make bonding with your family a regular and intentional occurrence. Your family will feel a loving and lasting connection because of it.