One of the best ideas we ever had as a family, was the installment of weekly family nights. Each week, one member of the family gets to pick an activity to do, a special dessert to have, and we tell that person something special we love about them. It has truly turned into the night that we all look forward to the most during the week and has established a routine that keeps our family connected through creating positive memories.
So here is how it works:
Each person can pick any activity they would like that is free (unless there is a special occasion and we grant permission to do something that costs money.) This keeps having family night financially possible each week.
Some of our favorite activities include: game night, movie night, hiking, going out on our boat when weather permits, having a picnic, or playing an active video game (like a bowling tournament on the Wii).
I still plan the dinner–again this keeps my budget in check. But more than anything, it keeps my sanity in check–I can handle making a special dessert, but some weeks I need a quick and easy meal plan for dinner and I don’t want to delay family night due to not being able to incorporate a crazy request for dinner. However, I do ensure it is something the person likes on their family night (for example: Layla loves green beans, Tate prefers broccoli…you get the idea!)
My kids love to bake with me so if they are able, I allow whatever child’s night it is to help me in the kitchen. This gives them one on one time with me and allows them to feel a part of the special night even more. And sometimes it is a simple request like popcorn and smoothies for a movie or an ice cream cone after swimming….but most often they get creative on me and I cherish those times with them.
We have arranged family night to be typically towards the end of the week (Thursday Night) unless a conflict arises. My husband is usually not traveling that day for work and can get home a few minutes earlier than he normally would. Also, if the kids are up a bit later than usual it will not be the end of the world–or their teachers’ world:)
This is what we have discovered works for our family. But the bottom line is that we have prioritized our family and are sure to at least have 1 day a week (or at 2-3 times a month if there are a lot of conflicts) to focus on just being together and having fun–not spending money to make our kids or ourselves happy.
Truly, it reminds me every week how blessed I am to be a part of my family. I love these nights and I hope and pray that my children will love these nights together even when they are teenagers. And I hope you will find the time to invest your families as well.