Family Night is a precious and protected evening in our home - but it is also one of the harder things to show up to. It is a matter of remembering that intentional moments set aside to play together are of more importance than the endless list of to-do. Knowing that investments take time to mature, and that investing in our children is worthwhile. And then just doing it, regardless. There is always something pressing, something that must be done, something that needs attention - and yet I am a firm believer in preserving special time for the family unit and spending intentional time laughing, growing, and bonding together.
Family Night has been a significant night in our week for a few years now, generally just a movie and popcorn on an evening that we could squeeze it in during the week. Sometimes board games took the place of a movie. It was the perfect balm to our hectic life and it was a special time for the four of us to laugh and enjoy one another.
Near the end of 2013 the kids got me thinking about doing a little bit more for our family night through 2014—something with a bit more intention and purpose and on a set date each week. After some talking we settled on Monday nights being set apart for our family night—and while we have been able to keep that date pretty faithfully, we figured that with making it Monday night we had a lot of days left in the week if we had to reschedule!
We brainstormed over 60 ideas that were low cost and wrote them all down at the beginning of the year. Each week we revisit the list and choose an activity for us to do as a family. Some take more time than others. Some require more energy than others. Some are season based.
The kids know that Monday night is set aside for family night and truly some weeks it would not happen if it weren't for their enthusiasm and push. Those extra-hard nights are usually the simpler activities, like enjoying a bonfire in the backyard, or watching a movie from our childhood.
We are half way through the year now and have missed only one week - and that was because we were at camp as a family. It has been a wonderful experience for us so far - because of the list of ideas we are not falling back on the same old movie or game idea (which we thoroughly enjoyed in years past!) and being stretched to do new things is fun. It has also added to our conversations and jokes. One of our sillier family nights was playing the Flour Game and it has made for some good laughs months later.
We have no set time limit to spend for family night - the flour game lasted all of twenty minutes and campfires can last for hours. The point is undistributed time together, doing something a little out of the ordinary, building memories, strengthening ties.
Our year of family night activities are being documented here throughout 2014 if you want to follow along!