As my kids get older I keep finding these quotes by various people ringing in my ears. I am the biggest influencer in my child’s life…NOT the pastor, teacher, and even friends. ME. Yes, there are other influencers in our kids lives…but my point is that I am number 1.
It is a basic desire of the human heart to have a close knit family, right?! So how do we keep engaging our kids as they get older and their schedules start to fill up? How do we create an environment that helps build a strong family bond through these formative years? I always love a good family vacay, that seems to fill up both my kids and my emotional tank…but I want to connect with my kids in unique and fun ways more often than once a year. Maybe the solution is starting a new tradition, a tradition such as (deep breath)… family night? Hear me out, I have kids 10 years old and younger so I think I have at least 2 more years where we can implement family night and our kids won’t completely revolt.
Family night starts by designating one night a week or even one night every month to spending intentional time together as a family. Or maybe it’s as simple as recognizing the time when you are all together already and maximizing that time! For example, the breakfast or dinner hour could be used more intentionally as family time. It doesn’t have to be gourmet breakfast…like throw doughnuts at your kids once a week, or order a pizza! The point is to be face to face, making eye contact, being present, and trying to engage your kids.
There are so many unique ways you can connect with your family and build your relationship this week! Tailor your time together to what your family loves: are you outdoorsy, homebodies, artsy? Or maybe you aren’t sure what your family loves, try it all!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Get the kids in the car on a whim and simply tell them you are taking them on a “mystery ride.” A mystery ride is basically a surprise destination…like to get ice cream or putt putt golf!
Fire & S’mores
Board Game Night- everyone gets to pick a board game!
Serve Day- pick a local organization you could help out together as a family!
Devotion Time- read a bible story and pray together
Treat Your Kids To The Dollar Store! (Our kids think this is the best thing ever)
Attend a local High School/College Football, Baseball, or Soccer game
The key to a “successful” family night: keep your expectations low. Inevitably there will be meltdowns, quarrels, and it won’t be this magical family time you have envisioned. Prepare yourself for those moments, and know that it’s ok…you haven’t failed! Doing things together as a family won’t always feel easy and fun, but rather it’s about creating the space to build your relationships with one another. Trust me, fun will be had, memories will be made, even if there are some unpleasant moments mixed in too.
What family activities have been a hit in your home, care to share? I always love fresh ideas!