8 Ideas to Reconnect on Family Night

We know you’re busy. Carpools, work obligations, extracurricular activities, and doctor appointments – and that’s just in one day! How can you possibly squeeze in one more thing? The great thing about family night is that it doesn’t have to involve a lot of planning– just a desire to have fun and connect with the family.

Benefits for Parents

It’s a given that family fun nights (FFN) are great for the kids, but the activities you choose together will remind you of how much you all enjoy each other’s company, and that helps builds a stronger family unit.

During these special (and regular!) moments together, you’re building a foundation for deeper relationships and open communication down the road– as you know, the daily grind doesn’t always allow much time for relaxed conversation. Family fun nights can provide an atmosphere that is more conducive to that.

As your kids grow and encounter adolescence, they’ll be more apt to come to you to talk about the touchy subjects like relationships, sex, and peer pressure. These talks won’t seem so awkward because you’ve carved a space in which they’re comfortable to speak up.

Rules for FFN

Leave the work week behind. Be a good listener. Refrain from preparing a rebuttal in your mind or turning every topic into a life lesson. Turn all phones to silent.

Playing board games is fine but it often turns into a competitive all-out war between the kids. While competition is healthy, it may be better reserved for other times. Try a parent versus kids face-off instead.

Go with the flow. If you’ve picked an activity that isn’t well received, loosen your grip on the “perfect activity” and provide an alternate way for everyone to enjoy it. Be consistent. It can be weekly, twice monthly, or even once a month, but stick to it.

Here are 8 ideas to shake up your family nights:

  • Dance Off: Don’t turn your nose up at this one if you have teens. They love to show you what’s in. Everyone picks a song and you must dance to it!

    Break things up with small segments of choreographed moves, and take turns teaching them to the rest of the family. It can be something as simple as the sprinkler, or something complex like the worm. If you can remember, show the kids what was popular back in your day.
  • Timehop: Get out baby albums, old family pictures, family movies, etc. Haul out the old film projector from grandma’s attic – laughs abound, guaranteed.

    Family history is an important factor that connects the generations together. Have the kids try to identify relatives. Talk about the facial features, habits, and mannerisms that have been passed down. It can be heartwarming for your kid to find out that great grandpa was an all-star running back like he is.
  • Puzzle Races: Buy some inexpensive puzzles from a dollar store and have puzzle races. Pick simple 25 -100 piece puzzles (depending on age and ability). First team or individual done wins. Or get a puzzle, like a 500 piece or less that can be completed in one night. Mod Podge the puzzle and hang it up.
  • Zentangles, Freestyle: Zentangles uses structured patterns to create beautiful designs. But on family fun night, you’re not going to be concerned with structure. This activity is about free-flowing art and it allows you to have conversations while you work on your masterpieces.

    All kids can do shapes – and they don’t have to be perfect. Keep the theme simple, like “Circles and Triangles”. Draw triangles and circles any way the mood moves them, and color some or all. Google “easy zentangles” for inspiration.
  • Family of Gamers: This may be the last thing you would consider for FFN, if you have a gamer who seems to have his hands permanently connected to a controller. Here, you’ll pick a game that involves everyone. You can rent one, and if your family really enjoys it, buy it! Wii SportsDance Central, Super Mario Kart and Rock Band are guaranteed hits.
  • Stargazing: Do this on a non-school night. Grab some blankets, pillows, and snacks and head out for some stargazing.

    A clear night without a full moon is best. Download Google Sky or Star Walk to help you identify the constellations. If you want to get the most oohs and aahhs, wait for the Perseids, annually appearing in mid-August. You’ll be treated to one of the best meteor showers of the year, with peak meteor viewing, up to 60 per hour.
  • Domino Mazes: Purchase a few boxes of dominos and leave the standard rules for another time because it’s all about the mazes. Give each child their own box and let them create their own maze or work on together, starting at different areas of the design and meeting in the middle. There will be mishaps– and maybe some frustrated siblings when one causes a premature start of the maze. Go with the flow and encourage creativity and patience.
  • Ice Cream Shake Down: Each family member gets to make their own serving of homemade ice cream while learning a bit about molecular gastronomy. Make it into an ice cream sundae party with lots of colorful bowls and spoons and delicious toppings!

What are your family nights like? Share your awesome ideas with us!

Tags : everyday celebrations   family   bonding   activities   

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