With families so busy with work, school, extra-curricular activities, sports, church, civic groups, clubs, etc., they can find it difficult to spend quality time with each other. Because families can be so busy, they need to intentionally plan their time together. In previous articles, I have mentioned the idea of planning a “family night in.” What is a family night in? It's doing something together at home that everyone in the family can enjoy. Family night in doesn't have to be a major, complicated event or require a lot of planning time. In fact, simple things are often the most fun and relaxing and can strengthen family relationships.
If you are having a hard time coming up with family night in ideas, I can provide some to get you started. Since we are entering the month of February, here are some ideas that tie in with February events:
- Write personal valentines to each member of the family by completing the sentence “I like you because….”
- Have an indoor volleyball game with a small blanket or towel and a balloon. Have a person hold each end of the towel or blanket, flip the balloon in the air, and try to catch it. See which team can make the most catches.
- Have a valentine treasure hunt. Make up a special “love” message for the family. Put each word from the message on cut paper hearts. Include clues on the back directing family members to the next heart. When all the hearts are found, unscramble the message.
- Build a dream house together with blocks, Legos or toy logs. Talk about what the house would look like and the things you would enjoy doing in it.
- Each family member can choose a president, find out about his life and pretend to be him. The other family members can ask questions and try to guess the president that is being portrayed.
- Bake sugar cookies together. Let each family member make special shapes and decorate the cookies with frosting, sprinkles or candy. Have a show of everyone’s creations. Give some of the cookies to a person special to the family.
Again, the most important part of family night in is that all family members are there and get a chance to actively participate together. Sitting in the same room but separately engaged in electronics does not count – but a game of Wii bowling or a family video chat with long distant loved ones certainly would! Spending this time together with no schedule to keep or jobs to do can be very relaxing and help strengthen the bonds of the family members. This is such an important message that I will be sharing more family night in ideas in upcoming articles.
Source: Debbie McClellan, retired Extension educator