Family Night

“Back in the day” there was no such thing as “Family Night” because just about every night was family night.  Before electricity became the norm, families gathered around the table in the evening by candlelight. After television was invented, families began to gather around the one television set they owned in the evenings to watch shows together.  Now that technology has granted us access to just about everything, we now find access to our families to be a challenge. 

Now, in order to bring families closer, experts are reinventing traditions that used to be the norm. For example, we are now being reminded of the importance of regularly eating together as a family. What used to be taken for granted must now sometimes be scheduled. 

This article on Family Night is not designed to be a new discovery for you. Instead, it is designed to remind you of family rituals you already know but need to practice.  In their book, Family Moments, David and Claudia Arp state that “what’s important is not so much knowing what to do as it is doing what you know.”

Families often make serious mistakes when it comes to setting up Family Nights. The purpose of Family Night is to create activities for all members of the family to enjoy and participate in together. Family nights are not designed to be over thought nor stress inducing. Remember, the goal is for the family to enjoy the activity as well as the company of the other family members.

Tips for planning Family Nights:

  • Be flexible: Family night activities do not have to be the same every night. The activity chosen should reflect the family’s mood of the moment. Quiet activities as well as active events should be included in the list of options. 
  • Avoid over structuring: Family night activities should not feel confining. Sometimes when trying to bring the family together we turn family members off by making too many rules. You will need certain rules just to maintain order but for the most part, family night should be a relaxed night.
  • Establish some ground rules: Attendance and participation should be a priority. As your schedule permits, sometimes family night may need to be rescheduled but only cancelled in dire emergencies. If you are not aggressive in scheduling family nights, other activities will eventaully crowd it out of the schedule.
  • Do not cancel family night due to misbehavior: Family night is designed to bring your family closer and all members get to participate simply because they are members of your family.  Use another consequence to redirect misbehavior but missing family night should not be an option.

Some suggestions for family night activities:

  • Family Movie Night: Rent a movie, make healthy snacks and enjoy the show! Have a discussion after the movie. What was your favorite part? Who was your favorite character and why?
  • Family Cooking Night: Have all members prepare a meal together before sitting down at the table and enjoying the meal as a family.  Feel free to include a home made dessert. If your family is not known for its baking skills, ice cream sundae night is an excellent alternative. 
  • Family Picnic: Pack a picnic basket and go to a local park. Drive up to the mountains (if possible) and enjoy the scenery. Bring some games such as softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, etc and play together.  Teach your children a game you used to play when you were their age such as kickball, jump rope or jacks.

The most important thing to remember is to create Family Nights that work for your family. Whatever the activity, setting aside special time just for your family is sure to bring you closer. Remember, families who spend quality time with each other and like each other are well on their way to building a strong, healthy and happy family.

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Family Night

  • Michelle Fast

    I am a single parent of 3 teenage boys. It’s not easy having family night anymore because they all have other things they’d like to do. I still try and find creative things…we went bowling for a few months. Now we’re more into movies but there again, it’s not easy finding good movies.

  • beste

    awesome post 😀 looking forward to reading more posts

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