In this 31 days series I’m looking at ways that I can make way for family life; choices that can simplify my lifestyle, making way for to me to live life with my kids! All posts can be found here.
Family night is one night a week (though it works fortnightly or monthly) where everyone gives themselves to the family. This isn’t so hard to organise when the kids are little but it does get tricker as they grow older and have more outside the home commitments but if you establish the priority when they are young, teens will appreciate this time and be on board.
Our purpose for family night is to build family relationships. How we go about doing that and what that looks has looked different seasons of family life.
My purpose in starting family night wasn’t very noble: By Friday night I wanted people (aka my children) to stop talking to me! So I created Friday Night movie night. Every Friday the kids would eat pizza (which was store bought) and watch a dvd! Initially I didn’t even stay in the same room – it was my time out so to speak. But it didn’t take long to realise that relaxing together like this, laughing together, was good for me and good for the family. It was soon called Family Night.
As the kids grew older they too appreciated the chill factor of Friday night movies. We have enjoyed many fun times and a few teary times too watching movies together.
Right now, we are in the process of changing family nights habits. Our goals are still the same: to build family relationships and yet the needs are different now that our children are older. The needs we have identified in our family are to:
- relax together
- have active fun together
- involve others in our family life
- talk together, and learn from each other
With these specific goals (replacing the need of “No-one talking to Mum!”) our family nights have changed. We have a very lose rotation of ideas: movies, games night, having friends over, being outdoors or having a dinner party (with just us).
Having these different ideas does mean I need to put in more effort – it is much easier just to grab a dvd! I do know of a family that rotates this responsibility to the older children in their family and that is certainly something we could consider. I plan family night each week as a part of my weekly planning – if it is important enough we’ll give it the prep time it needs.
Food always plays an important part in any relationship building activity and family night is no different. Though pizza is a favourite we have added a few other meals to our Family night options. The rules are though to keep it simple to prepare, fun to eat and easy to clean up (we always use disposable plates!) Some of our favourites are:
- Veggies, cheese and dips
- And after our trip to Turkey we enjoy Mezze – basically bread and chunky vegetable dips
Do you have family nights happening in your family?
Do you have a purpose? And are the activities you do meet that purpose?