Monday, February 13, 2012

Unique Ideas for Creating Family Time

With the busy schedules and packed agendas that most families have today, finding time to spend together as a family sometimes seems impossible. Parents and children rush from school/work to piano lessons, to basketball practice, followed by a scout meeting, to the grocery store, and then finally home to squeeze in homework and dinner! With all of the activities and rushed schedules, family time can easily get overlooked. Spending time together as a family is important for relationship building. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or cost a lot of money; it simply needs to create a space for the bonding that needs to occur for healthy relationships. We asked one of our APAC families to share with us how they create time for family bonding, and here are some creative ideas they have come up with over the years. 

Date Night: Date Night is when a parent goes on a date with just one child. We do whatever the child wants to do (within financial reason.) We explain that Date Night is about sharing each other so we encourage the kids to pick something that promotes talking to each other. Some of my greatest pleasures as a father have come during dinner and ice cream at Dairy Queen. Date Night is a way to show your children they are individually important to you. 

Guest of Honor Night: Guest of Honor Night is when a family member is selected to be honored at Saturday or Sunday dinner. The menu includes only the guest of honor’s favorite foods and he or she gets to sit at the head of the table. During dinner, each family member gets a turn to say what they love most about the guest of honor. It is a way to show your children they are important to the whole family. By the way, mom and dad get to take turns being the guest of honor too! 

Movie Night: Movie Night is when the family snuggles down to watch a movie together. Here is the absolute key – the food is created and nicknamed in conjunction with the type of movie you are going to watch. For example, if you watch Star Wars, your snacks are things like “Millennium Falcon” dogs (hot dogs), “Luke Frywalkers” (French fries), and “Obi-Wan Kenobi Corn” (popcorn). You drink out of “Han Solo” cups and your kids get to draw movie characters on them. Movie Night becomes more than just watching a movie. 

Karaoke Night: Karaoke Night is more fun than you could imagine. Karaoke machines have become very affordable (less than $50.) They are now made to plug into television sets. Some of the funniest moments in our lives have happened on Karaoke Night. Here is the key – let loose. Karaoke Night is an opportunity to show the kids having fun is important. Let’s face it; we have all wanted to be rock stars! 

You can even turn everyday activities into quality, family time. We’ve compiled a list of a few more ideas we think are fun and creative that we gathered from a few articles we found online (which you can read in full following the links below)! 
  • Draw and color pictures together of your favorite places.
  • Give your child a responsibility at the grocery store like matching labels to coupons [making it a game!]. 
  • Use car time [drive time from the grocery store to the ball field] as “together time” by singing or telling stories. 
  • Dance or play a game while you cook or clean. 
  • Have story time as a family, where one family member reads a book to the entire family. This can be a chapter book, and you read one chapter a week, etc. 
  • Enjoy a “Make your own pizza” night, where each person designs his/her own pizza with different toppings! 
  • Throw a “Cupcake Party” – bake and decorate your own cupcake after dinner.
  • Have a camp-out in the backyard, complete with hot dog and marshmallow roasting! 
Again, family time doesn’t have to be elaborate. It just needs to allow for the time necessary to strengthen and build relationships. 
Related articles: 
What are your ideas for “family time”?