These days, families are really busy. So busy sometimes that family time doesn’t get to just happen organically. That’s why it’s so important to plan family nights regularly.
Whether it’s because mom works late, the kids have sports events, or Dad works the night shift, there are tons of things that interfere with our time together as a family. And that time together is critical!
Plan family nights to create memories and bonds that last a lifetime.
The days are long, but the years are short. I don’t know who said this, but damn is that true. Who among us hasn’t spent the day praying for bedtime to come swiftly so we can put the monsters we love to bed and have just a bit of calm for the first time that day? (II’m just going to assume there are no hands going up here.)
If you don’t plan family nights to ensure quality time together, before you know it the kids will all be grown. Your prime years for creating memories and family bonds will be gone. You can’t get that back.
We need to make sure we’re using these years to strengthen the family ties and create memories that will last a lifetime. You want your kids to visit a lot as adults. This will help with that. You want your kids to stay close to each other as they grow up. This will help with that, too.
The connections that are forged with our families through the memories of childhood cannot be erased. They stick with us forever! I’m sure each of you can vividly recall adventures, experiences, and just crazy moments with your family as when you were young. We have to make sure we make time to give our kids that.
To do that, you need family time that is unrushed, enjoyable and memorable. You can’t do that if you’re constantly rushing off to some event, practice, job, or running errands. We can only create so many memories while in traveling to and from in the car.
Family nights show kids what really matters.
Actions speak louder than words, right? We hear it all the time. So then why do we say things are important yet fill our time with other things?
Yes, kids activities are important. Kids love and benefit from many extracurriculars such as playing instruments, joining clubs at school, and participating in sports. If your kid truly loves one of these things, don’t stop them. Let them enjoy it! But limit their activities so they do not take over life.
Kids don’t need to be in and do everything available to them. It’s okay to just pick one or two things! They’ll be less stressed. They’ll have more time to just enjoy being a kid. Most importantly, you’ll have more opportunities to make time for things that matter to you as a family.
When we plan family nights regularly, we’re showing our kids that family is important. Not just telling them. They will see, and learn, that it’s so important, that it’s worth carving out time to make sure that it happens. It’s not just left up to chance.
Would you leave dentist appointments up to whenever you could find time to squeeze them in? No. Because it’s super important! So is this. You need to treat it like it is. Creating time for family instills in kids the importance of family.
Ideas for your next family night.
So you’ve pared down the activities. You’ve carved out some time every week, every other week, or at the very least once a month. Now what to do with that time?
Here are some ideas to get you started. Some are super simple and might have you thinking, “That’s it?” But there are some families out there that are so disconnected because they’ve been running on that wheel of activity and business for so long, they need to start with the basics.
They never eat together, almost never do fun activities together, and are rarely ever all in the same room at the same time for more than 15 minutes. If that’s you, no shame. Congratulations for jumping off the wheel and running toward what you really want in life! You’ll be so happy you did the hard work to make the change.
Then there are those of us who carve out the time but maybe at first our family nights aren’t very long. Perhaps job schedules and kids sleep schedules allow for only an hour or two. On those nights, go for something basic. Again, this isn’t about doing something elaborately planned and extravagant. It’s about getting everyone in the same room, having conversation, and doing something together where everyone is involved and not engaged in something else.
If you already do those simple things, plan your family nights around a little more excitement and activity. Try to mix and match a few of the ideas below for a whole day of activity!
There are tons of ideas out there for places to take your family for the day, and fun themed nights at home! Just do a quick Google search and you’ll have more ideas than you’ll know what to do with.
These are just a few quick ideas to get you started if this is fairly new for your family.
- Dinner. I know, this seems so simple. But start here if you never have meals together. The power of sitting together for a family meal is immense! Try scheduling one family dinner night a week. You can get everyone excited and engaged in the regular dinner nights by letting a different person pick the whole menu each week! If possible, have everyone help make the meal as well. Even if people join in when they get home as others are already cooking, it can still be really fun and beneficial!
- Movies. Either go out to a movie or watch one at home, depending on your finances and time constraints. Just like with the dinner, you can rotate who gets to pick the movie. Then make some popcorn, or other family favorite snack, and snuggle up on the couch together for some closeness and togetherness.
- Game night. If you have time, let everyone pick a game or two (depending on time constraints and the number of people in your family) and have everyone play each one. If you have really little ones, they can help Mom or Dad and play as a team when playing games the older kids chose. Make it more exciting by offering a “prize” to the winners. It can be something simple like choosing the next family night activity or choosing dinner the next night.
- Arts & Crafts. This is fun if some people in your family love crafts and others never participate. It opens everyone up to something fun and different. You can make it a free arts and crafts where everyone just uses whatever supplies and does their own creation. Alternatively, maybe you find something that everyone can work on together, like creating a large painting, everyone making necklaces, or painting kindness rocks together.
- Puzzles. If you have slightly older kids, get a big puzzle and have everyone work on it together. You can even have a movie on in the background, or make snacks or hot chocolate…whatever is fun for your family!
- Here’s a list of indoor winter activities to try as a family!
- Here’s a list of summer family activities!
If you’re feeling like there is never enough time to just be together and wishing you had more time together as a family, this will help! I assure you that if you plan family nights regularly, your family will love it. They will become closer in the long term and in the short term, they’ll start looking forward to each one.
Even if you have teens that may fuss at the idea initially, they will appreciate it later. As adults, these nights will probably be some of their fondest memories of their childhood!
Family time doesn’t have to be fancy, elaborate, expensive, or even constant. Just regular time together will instill in your kids that this, your family, is one of the most important things in life. If you plan regular family nights, you’re on the right path to more memories, stronger bonds, and a life focused around what you love most…your family!