Let's get real: sometimes we as parents would rather run errands for a few hours than hold a regular family night. Or goad our family into participating while we slip away for a nap. But, we're responsible parents who love our kids and want to do the best we can for them. Hence, we hold a weekly family night and show up.
Traditions provide kids with an added measure of security. Kids also like consistency. A family night is an ideal tradition and once it becomes implemented, it's really easier than it sounds. It can run for 15 minutes or two hours, depending on your family's schedule.
Reserve one night each week. In our house it's either Sunday or Monday, depending on when the whole family can be there. This is what we call "Family Home Evening," and we often spend time having a spiritual or religious discussion. Where else will your kids learn morals, manners, and other important teachings if not at home? Or, if you're not up for a lesson just go bowling!
A weekly family night is a terrific idea for many reasons. It is a time to:
Family night is a great time to pull together and update the calendar, or run through the upcoming week's activities. If you have multiple kids with busy schedules on top of your own busy schedule, use this time to plan rides and share reminders of school project deadlines, soccer games, etc.
Conduct family business
Use this time to discuss family concerns. Remind your kids for the zillionth time to put the toilet seat down or wash their own dishes. Let your kids air their grievances and make suggestions, too. Plan your next family vacation, review consequences of breaking rules, and dole out the kids' allowances (if they get one).
Give the kids a task
Maybe your family night will include a brief lesson or teaching, family prayer, fun game or activity, and a treat. Rotate the responsibilities or assignments for each task among your family members. This allows every family member to be accountable and participate, even the youngest kids.
Work or play
Kids are delighted when their parents play with them. And working with them sets an example and helps them learn a skill. Depending on your time allotment, pull out a board game, play baseball at the park, read a story, go sledding, provide a service for a neighbor or friend in need, write letters to a soldier, go out for ice cream, wash your car, build a piece of furniture, or bake a cake.
Don't forget a treat!
For many family members, the treat is the most important part of family night. Never, ever forget the treat.
For kids, love is measured by time. The memories they'll hold on to will be the moments we spend with them so much more than the new toys and material items we give. For most families, life becomes increasingly complicated as our children grow and become immersed in their own activities and friends. Holding a weekly family night will strengthen your children emotionally. Your family will communicate better. And you can always sneak in the errands or nap later.