Family Fun

Family night is like date night for the whole family.

Many couples swear by “date night” as the key to maintaining a healthy marriage. Indeed, a weekly date without kids provides valuable time to connect with each other and nurture your relationship. But it’s equally as important to connect with the whole family unit—sort of like a family date night.

Families are busy these days. Often both parents work and the kids are involved in countless extracurricular activities, so it can be hard to carve out dedicated family time—but it’s critical. Many families are finding that a dedicated family night is the key to familial bliss.

Make it a Priority

The first step in creating a successful family night in your household is making it a priority. Choose a night that is off limits for everything else—no meetings, no appointments, no sports practices, or anything else that would serve to pull one or more family members away. This can be challenging, but it will pay in dividends with years of healthy family relationships.

Parents have to model it for the kids and hold family night sacred no matter what. This is one evening a week to resist the pull of television, phones, video games, Facebook, and any other distraction. It’s one night to focus entirely on family togetherness.

Make it Fun

Family night need not feel like a chore. It should be fun to spend an evening with the people you hold most dear. If you hope to drag your kids away from technology for the evening, you better be ready to replace it with something entertaining. Some families use a “family fun jar” to guide their activities—the jar is centrally placed somewhere in the home and family members add ideas for fun activities. On family night, they’ll draw a slip of paper from the jar to choose an activity.

Below are just a few ideas for family bonding. Remember, you’re making memories that will last a lifetime and building relationships that will serve as a strong foundation.

Game night: Game night is open to interpretation. Some families prefer board games, while others will engage in a rousing round of charades. Still other families will head outside for a wild game of freeze tag. Put your own stamp on game night—anything that includes silly laughter is fair game.

Family band: Is yours a musical family? Why not get together and make music? Break out the instruments and have a family jam session. You may even end up composing some family masterpieces. For extra credit, make a music video for extended family that lives far away. That way they can enjoy family night from afar.

Backyard campout: Backyard campouts stand out as fond memories for kids. So pitch the tent, bring out the ingredients for s’mores, and get your best campfire stories ready. Your kids will feel like they’ve gone on a mini-adventure. And the best part? A real bathroom is only steps away.

Movie night with a twist: Put a new twist on an old favorite. Set up an outdoor movie and hand out prizes for the most creative seating. Or choose a movie theme and have everyone dress accordingly. Some families even set up a “drive-in” movie by projecting the film onto the garage door and watching from the car. Creating active engagement with the movie will make it more fun and memorable.

Art night: Get creative as a family. Break out the art supplies, get messy, and have fun. Your imagination is your only limit.

Family restaurant: Turn dinner into a special affair. Work together to create a special meal. Create menus and special table settings and assign one or two family members to act as servers. Light candles, play music, and make dinner at home a unique event.