My “year of motherhood” just sent me into a cold sweat since this month is about planning family nights for each week. Pintrest here I come …..
Now, don't think I don't like spending time with my family, I love it, but planning themed nights is not my best quality. I know that themes don't make a family night special, but when thinking about this challenge I knew I wanted to up my game up just a bit.
We love doing what we call “family nights” around here and they consist of us all being home and eating dinner together. For some of you that might be every night, but our busy schedules have us eating together for sure four nights a week. If Aaron and I have something I try hard to make it where we don't leave until after 7 so that we can at least be at the table with them while they are eating.
Amos is the #1 fan of family nights and to him this means that both dad and mom are home and we are eating together. The thought of that can make him give the biggest smile ever. That kid loves his family to be together!
So, for April I'm challenging myself to step up the family nights. I'm thinking themes, and costumes, and decorations. I know I'm probably shooting for the stars here, but I want to do some fun stuff. I need your help though. What family nights have you done? What themes have you seen? I'm thinking a camping family night where we eat “camp food” (whatever that is since I am 33 and have never slept one night in a tent!!!) and roast marshmallows and do some sort of craft to count down the days until our kids actually go to camp, which is nothing like “camping”, but to them it's all the same right now. I'm also thinking of doing a backwards night which I've seen a lot of people do. You wear your clothes backwards and eat dessert first and even eat under the table, which I know our dog Scout will love.
My friend Julie sent me a few links to help with planning, so hopefully they will be useful this month. She has blogged some of their family nights and sounds like she has this thing down! Family Time Training was one of the sites and it looks as though they have a free planning guide each month to a new family night theme with games and scripture all ready for you. Another site she sent me to was called PLUGGED IN and it is a site dedicated to reviewing media for parents and they have a section called “movie nights” where they actually have discussion questions for you to have a movie night with your child and then have a biblical based discussion afterwards. Pretty cool!
April will surely challenge me as a mom. I want these nights to be fun, and all about the kids. I want to leave all my stress behind and truly live in that moment with my kids. If we are roasting marshmallows and there is stickiness all over the table I want to let it go and be with my kids!
Anyone joining me this month? Family nights here we come ……
If you’re looking for ideas why not ask each of your kids what they think would be fun to do with the family – at home – one night that month, then use those ideas to plan your family nights. I bet the kids would love knowing that they had some input and would feel special when their idea was being used, making the impact of family night that much deeper. Also, you might be surprised at what their expectations are. Probably much lower than what you would plan, and therefore less work and more focused on them.
For me, the idea of theme nights makes me want to convulse. I guess I just feel like there’s this thing going on where parents are trying to up their game to the point that it seems over the top rather than focusing on the most important thing – the root of it all, time as a family. In our home, family night might look like us deciding that we’re eating popcorn and watching a movie. I get treated because I don’t have to cook, and our kids love the break from the norm. One of the main thoughts I had while reading is that if you set the bar at theme nights every week, then that becomes the expectation rather than the treat. If I’m understanding the whole goal of the year of motherhood, it’s to make lasting changes that impact your family for good. If a theme night is a big challenge, is it something you’ll be up to every week, or would once a month be more reasonable with smaller stuff planned like a Smores night (rather than camping) or a board game night? I’m not trying to be critical, I just know I couldn’t maintain it and then I would feel guilty and well, you know the cycle! 🙂
Love your blog and have been following for quite awhile. We are in the midst of a Haitian adoption, so you and your family have been a great source of information and encouragement for us. (side note–we LOVE your hubbie’s music! Got his CD on i-tunes!) Anyway, about Family nights–one thing that my brother’s family has recently started is having a “Family Formal” night once a month. They use this time to teach their kids good manners–like how to keep a napkin on their lap, how to use a fork and knife together, how to politely ask for things to be passed, etc… They also dress up for the occasion to make it extra fun. Their kids are 10, 8, 5, and 3. They love it!
Oh girl you are right I could never maintain this!!! But I am wanting to challenge this month to do something a little different and over the top this month. No way will this happen all the time. For two reasons …. #1 this month is taking every single of creative bone I have (and you’ll see by what I do that it’s not much) & #2 who has time to do this every week?!?!?
I love your input and all you said is true. I just decided when I did this that I wanted to try themes b/c I have never done them. Who knows maybe they’ll pop back up a few times each year. 🙂
Just last night we had what we call “family night” and it had no theme or anything special to it. Just all of us home and cooking and eating and hanging out. We do that lots. These things will just be a tad bit different!
Love your words!
Maybe for camping nights you could build a blanket fort inside and eat in that…or just build the fort and play games inside or something. I know I did that when I was babysitting a couple kids (9 and 6) and they loved building the fort. 🙂
Melody I love that! Maybe we could all sleep in the living room, and by all I mean all the kids!!! I’m sleeping in my bed!!
what about a luau/hawaiian themed night? grass skirts, leis, tiki torches, serve grilled chicken and pineapple over rice and pina colada inspired smoothies for dessert.
I think this is great and is something I would have loved as a kid!!!
Jen – Monday night is our LUAU night!!! I’m so excited! Limbo contest … veggies on skewers … rice …. marshmallow and fruit kbobs that the kids put together …. pina colada smoothies! So fun!
I got the idea and all the information (b/c I work best w/ instructions even on simple stuff!) from a website called family muscle!