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Begin a Family Night In

October 11, 2013

Begin a Family Night in Tradition

More than 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin declared "if every man or woman would work for four hours a day on something useful, that labor would procure all the necessaries and comforts of life." Times have changed and today in America, a third of us are working ten hours a day.

Overwork and over scheduling take a toll on our families and relationships as we find less time for each other and less time to just hang out. Taking a break to spend some relaxed time together as a family can be a way to reconnect. Instead of going out for the evening, why not schedule a family night in?

What is a "family night in?" It's doing something together at home that everyone in the family can enjoy. Designate one night a week that you will set aside for family activities. Give each family member a chance to lead activities. It doesn't have to be a major event. In fact, simple things are often the most fun and relaxing.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your first family night in.

  • Have a limbo contest in the yard. Make it even more interesting by using a stream of hose water to go under instead of a limbo stick.
  • Make a batch of popcorn to enjoy together. You can even go outdoors and see who can catch the most pieces in their mouth.
  • Organize family pictures together. Match current photos with older photos to see how family members have changed or who looks most like Aunt Karen.
  • Start a "Special Memories" folder. Get an accordion folder with 12 sections and label each section with months of the year. Put your mementoes (fair ticket stubs, postcards, invitations, special papers, etc.) in each month. Next year you can take the items from the folder and tell stories about the event.
  • Start a jigsaw puzzle. You can talk about all kinds of things while looking for pieces.
  • Create a brochure of your "dream vacation." Include ideas from all family members.
  • Talk about school days. What subjects do you like best? How has school changed since parents or grandparents were students? What's fun? What's stressful?

Don't get bogged down in the preparation and planning. Spending relaxed time together with no schedule to keep or jobs to do can be wonderful. Just make certain everyone in the family gets a chance to enjoy some special time together. Watch your family grow closet and learn to have fun together as you implement family night in.