If your life is anything like ours, finding time to connect and hang out together as a family in meaningful ways can be a struggle. We’re together a lot, but I’m sure there’s a difference between being in the same vehicle running errands and really being together. I don’t know about you, but there are an awful lot of conversations I hope happen in our home before our children are grown and on their own. I also hope they look back and know that we valued and loved them deeply, even when life was stressful and filled with unending demands and deadlines. I hope there are quality family moments…memorable ones that our children can point back to and cherish. While I wish these moments happened more naturally and organically, I’m finding in the hustle and bustle of life these focused family times don’t seem to occur on their own very often. Slowing down, connecting with our kids, and disconnecting from everything else rarely – or maybe never – happens unless we intentionally make it happen. For this reason we’ve started Family Night at our house.
The goal? To slow down for a few hours, have fun together, and intentionally talk about ideas and beliefs we hope to instill in our kids. It’s also a perfect time to listen and give each other the gift of undivided attention. Each Family Night contains three parts. 1. Food 2. Activity. 3. Topic
Sometimes Family Nights are well thought out and planned, but most of the time our evening is thrown together a few hours before it starts. Having these three guides (food, activity, and topic) help us make a quick, focused game plan. We thought we’d share some of these Family Night ideas in case your family is as busy as ours and yet you desire to stop, unplug, and connect. Thankfully Bryan-College Station offers many affordable venues and options for family night.
Pizza, Painting, and Praise
(Yes, I’m a sucker for alliteration)
Pizza – (Food)
On Monday and Tuesday nights each week, Papa Murphy’s (located in the Tejas Center in Bryan) sells $5 large, one-topping pizzas. Feeding our family of six for $10 is a miracle, and it happens when we pick up pizzas from Papa Murphy’s. Have I mentioned that we have four boys who each eat like linebackers? We don’t eat out frequently but feeding 6 people for $10 is such a great deal this is quickly becoming our Monday night ritual.
Pick up a $5 one topping pizza at Papa Murphy’s and bake it at home. The result? Hot, fresh (did I mention cheap?) pizza right out of the oven.
Painting – (Activity)
I’ve seen this paint idea floating around the internet and thought we’d give it a try. Simply tape off a design of your choice on your canvas (in our case, poster board), paint around the tape, and then remove the tape later. This was really great for our youngest child. He made a huge mess on his “canvas” but when we pulled the tape off his painting a beautiful number three was on display.
Confession: I’ve initiated painting sessions with our kids when they were little (and still do sometimes with our three year old), but I’m not sure how often I’ve actually sat down and painted a picture with our kids. I know we’ve never painted together as a family. It was more fun than I expected to watch our older kids (and my husband) show off their art skills We laughed at our silly quirks and applauded each other’s works of art. Our artistic kids passionately painted and the kids who felt stretched creatively pushed through and were really proud of their art when they finished.
Praise – (Topic)
The theme of the evening? Encouraging each other by praising one another. What are some recent accomplishments to celebrate? Where have we seen growth and maturity? What positive traits stand out about each person’s personality? What do we admire about each other? After our evening ended I thought about the power words yield. The world can beat a family up. Sometimes, whether we mean to or not, we hurt each other right here under our own roof. What a simple family exercise – intentionally reminding one another of our value and hearing phrases like, “I love you, and I’m proud of you.” Simple, yes…yet immeasurably powerful.
Food from Papa Murphy’s | $10
10 pk Crayola washable paint from Target | $4.99
Poster board from Target | $1
Total cost for Family Night (6 people) | around $18 dollars
These Family Night posts will be filed under the “Family Nights” link on our side bar. If you have family night ideas, please email them to email@example.com.