Family Night: Create Tradition

Home & Family
on October 28, 2001

Your family is probably like many others these dayspulled in countless directions by educational, social, and recreational obligations. If youre looking for a way to re-connect with each other, a family night might be exactly what you need.

Setting aside time to be together as a family is important, says Jody Johnston Pawel, author of The Parents Toolshop. Its something that goes beyond day-to-day scheduling, she says. A family evening can help prevent a lot of problems. Family nights also help keep the lines of communication open and create wonderful lasting memories.

Choose a night when everyone gathers to enjoy a family activity. Make sure all of you, from the oldest to the youngest, are involved. Each week, a different family member can choose the evenings theme or activity. It can be something as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood together or as elaborate as preparing a seven-course meal. Other ideas you might want to try include:

Movie night. Pop popcorn the old-fashioned way (on the stove) and pop a video in the VCR. Let everyone in the family have a turn at deciding which movie to watch.

Its showtime. Write and produce your very own family play. You can have a great time making costumes and picking props. Videotape your play and share it with out-of-town family at your next reunion.

Smile for the camera. Give everyone an inexpensive disposable camera. Choose a themesuch as trees, trucks, signs, or animalsand go around the neighborhood taking pictures. On another family night, create scrapbooks featuring the pictures youve taken.

Be crafty. Choose a craft project to work on together. Perhaps youll build a birdhouse or make stepping stones for the garden or stained-glass sun catchers to hang in bedroom windows.

Book it. Select a book to read aloud together. You might spend several weeks reading all the works in a series.

Count your blessings. Volunteer to help serve a meal at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Go on a special shopping trip to buy much-needed items (soap, socks, and paper products) to take with you.

Dont be discouraged if it takes a little time to get your family night started. Its well worth the effort to forge a tradition that strengthens your family bond.

Found in: Home & Family