What happens on family night … stays on family night. At least that’s what we said the night I dramatically pantomimed changing my adult daughter’s diaper. It was the final round of Cranium. If my husband guessed correctly, our team would take the win. If not, it was sure to go to the other team.
In the last few seconds, he shouted, “Changing a diaper!”
I raised my hands in victory. “Yes!”
The other team groaned as my husband moved our player piece into the winner zone. My daughter got up off the floor, red-faced and raspy from screeching/laughing.
Now, whenever we decide to play a game on family night, her older siblings (and brother-in-law) always tease her with, “Let’s play Cranium.”
And she always spits back “No!,” much to their delight.
Creating a fun family night
Family night has been a thing in our family since the kids were little. Now that they’re all out on their own, they still love it. So do my husband and I. I credit family night for one of the main reasons we’re a close family.
It hasn’t always been easy. But I’ve learned some things (sometimes the hard way) to make weekly family nights an event they won’t want to miss.
1) Yummy food. If your kids still live at home, this is a night to put something special on the menu. When mine were little, they’d beg for pizza — an obvious way to make the meal fun for them.
There are other nights for “eat your vegetables” and “try it — you’ll like it.” Family nights are a great reason to put out those “Yay! Best mom ever!” foods.
Now that mine are young adults on a meager food budget, anything that isn’t Ramen noodles or Kraft macaroni and cheese puts a smile on their faces. I usually make this my night to put more effort into cooking dinner. It’s also our one dessert night of the week.
Whatever their age, choose a menu (or restaurant) that will be sure to lure them to the table.
2) Fun activity. Don’t let the night end with everyone slipping away after dinner and melding with their devices. Planning an activity keeps the conversation going, often getting into the deeper issues of life. We’re fond of board games, so it doesn’t take much to entice them to play a round or two. Sometimes we’ll hike at a local landmark or head to the nearby city park if the weather’s nice.
Some weeks, like Easter week, we’re simply exhausted. Those are great times to head to the theater or rent a movie to watch at home. This weekend, my heart melted when my youngest curled up next to her dad on the couch like she did as a little girl.
3) Safe conversation. Speaking from some of the most painful parenting lessons I’ve ever learned, I highly recommend saving the difficult conversations for later. Most issues can and should be dealt with individually, but if it’s truly a family matter, we schedule a family meeting.
We work hard at cultivating positive interaction, with more encouragement than correction. For me, the work is especially hard, since I didn’t grow up in a positive environment; too many times I’ve repeated the mistake of being too harsh with my children. Often, it takes intentional work on the parents’ part to create a supportive and affirming family environment.
I’ve watched the work pay off not just on family nights, but throughout the week as well. Recently, one of our adult kids sent us all a group text before a big job interview and instantly got 100% response with many variations of, “You go, girl!”
One Small Win: Whether your kids are just barely old enough to sit at the table, or if they have dining room tables of their own, family nights are a great way to create great memories and foster closeness.
And if you ever find yourself playing Cranium and draw the “pantomime changing a diaper” card?
Do it with gusto.
Your family will be talking (and laughing) about it for months to come.
Lyneta Smith is an inspirational writer and speaker who lives with her husband near Nashville, TN. Some of her favorite things to write in her planner: date nights and family time with her adult children. She’s owned by a frisky Boston terrier and a tortoiseshell cat. Connect with her at www.lynetasmith.com.
Sometimes the cutest things become our biggest challenge when getting Clutter Free and those would be our not so Clutter Free Kids.
Today we share real life strategies that we can use with our children to not only help us kick clutter our of our homes, but will also give our children the strategies they will need to live a Clutter Free life when they leave our nest.
Don’t forget that it’s not too late to join us for the Kickstart to Clutter Free e-course!
Click HERE and use the code: INSIDER to get the course at half price!
5 Ways to Connect Better with Your Kids by Paula Tobey
Have you ever had an encounter with one of your children that left you feeling like the ‘bad guy’? Either there was eye rolling, or stomping and yelling, or even better – a door slammed on your hand (check out my article about that one here http://phemomenallife.com/need-god) and all you could do was pray or kill a kid, lol. Well here are five great tips for you to have a better relationship with your child that will help prevent any of this from ever happening!
Believe it or not, kids need love. They don’t act like they do (and the older they get they may tell you often they don’t) but they do. The ‘kind’ of love is what is in question. Sure as anything, that too changes as kids grow. They want to show love to you. It’s just differently than before. Less kisses and hugs and more ‘trust’ or privileges. Kids need to feel like they have some control, and if that means telling you to stop kissing them at the bus stop, then they will use what works. Just remember, they do love you! Help them feel loved and respected by trying these tips:
- Know your kids – Can you tell someone with certainty what your child’s favorite activity is, favorite show or book? Can you list off some of their closest friends? What makes your kid tick? Make sure to listen to your child’s interests and pay attention to what they talk about. Ask questions.
- Accept your child where s/he is – The truth is: kids grow up, and they all do it at different times (although research shows it is happening at an earlier age than ever before). We need to be aware that they might just be ready for the next stage, so we should love and respect them where they are.
- Encourage good decisions and positive interactions – When your child does something that is nice or helpful, make sure to comment on it. Positive reinforcement goes much further than negative reinforcement. Negate the nagging! If you don’t like to be nagged by your mother or spouse, why do you think nagging your kid will get them to do much of anything? Give choices and ask them questions like “what are you supposed to be doing right now” rather than “do your homework”. Then after they answer, suggest they can do “A” or “B” and be okay with their choice even if it involves consequences.
- Share some personal things – Kids do want to hear from you. Share with them some of your struggles. Tell them you had a hard time with X, and you don’t want to see them struggle, and that is why you care so much what happens. If they hear from you and your ‘pain’, they are more willing to be understanding and listen to you.
- Be available – When kids get home from school, most of them want to wind down a little bit. Give them some space for a few minutes but then engage with them over a snack or in the car. You never know when they’ve had a really bad day and need to talk. Most kids are just waiting for the chance to feel loved. The more available we are to them, the more likely they are to open up to us when needed.
For more great tips on parenting practices, check out all of my blog posts. http://phemomenallife.com/category/family
Do you want more great information to make your family the best it can be? Subscribe to my blog and get weekly posts and encouragement to help you on your parenting journey. http://phemomenallife.com/
Paula Tobey is founder of PheMOMenal Life Ministries a community for women to go get encouraged and equipped to be the best mom’s they can be to their children by living a healthy balanced life and by becoming all that God created them to be.
Want to unlock the key to your child’s personality? Roger is here to help.
Today I have my very own personality expert – Roger! on the show to help us understand each of our kids’ unique personalities and how to connect with them.
Roger and I have one child for each of the four personalities – and we have the stories to prove it!
You won’t want to miss this fun – and super informative podcast!
Oops!!! Earlier we posted a previous podcast. Here is the correct link! Click “Listen Now”!
Rules, Boundaries, Guidelines….. How do we raise our children to be responsible adults?
Do you lay down the law or do you let your kids have a say?
And have you ever uttered words you never expected to have to say like, “No slugs in bed!”
Listen as Kathi and Erin discuss setting rules for kids and then leave comments with your input and advice.