Family Night

You know how it is when you need to fill out a survey and you’re asked about your hobbies?  What are some things that jump out at you right away?  For me, one of my favorite hobbies is being with my family.  Yes, I know it sounds hokey but I really do enjoy when the three of us are together.  And I don’t mean the “together” that comes from trying to get homework done or rush out to church or clean a toy room.  What I really like is an evening or weekend where we get to hang out and just enjoy being together.

A while back, we realized that there was dearth of that in our home.  With weird work schedules and other obligations, we didn’t get a lot of time to just be a family, having fun together.  That needed to change, so we instituted Family Night!  There is no magic behind Family Night and we rarely do anything over the top.  Here’s how it works…

  • We look ahead at the calendar for a weekend night we have free.  No extra work shifts.  No plans with friends.  No big plans the next morning.  THAT becomes our next family night.
  • We take turns.  Each member of the family gets to plan a Family Night.  This includes dinner, dessert, and any entertainment.
  • Eventually, we will work with The Bug about budgets and things like that.  Till then, we get to approve or disapprove her ideas based on cost.

This really is a great way to teach a few things to The Bug.  One, there’s the whole planning thing.  She has to think about each aspect of the evening and decide what is fun for all and sensible to do. Second, the aforementioned budget will be vital to her life as she tries to figure out the tricky world of finances down the road.  Third, as individuals, we may not always be happy with what the family does, but we all have to get along.  A very important lesson for an only child.

Recently, my wife got her turn to plan Family Night on a Friday night after she got home from work.

We started by letting her unwind on the back patio.  This was Fourth of July Weekend, and we had introduced The Bug to various fun (yet not wildly dangerous) home “explosives” like sparklers this year.  So, for us, unwinding meant throwing those little popper things on the patio over and over and over again.  Great fun.  Good times!



Then, it was time for the park!  I — Mr. Domesticated Daddy — had already packed a picnic dinner, so we loaded up the car and went to a local park that we don’t frequent much.  The Bug ran immediately to the playground.  The swings used to be her favorite thing, but now she is working on learning things like rings and monkey bars.  She also tackled her fear of the the largest “fireman pole” we have ever seen on a playground.


Just before dinner time we decided to head to an open patch of grass to try our hand at a frisbee catch.  Years (and years and years) ago this used to be one of our favorite outdoor activities.  Now, I think we are learning (or re-learning) to throw a frisbee using these awesome discs The Bug won at various school activities.


We ate our dinner and played some more before it was time for the grandest event of the evening — ice cream at Graeter’s!  For those of you who live outside the Cincinnati area, I really am sorry that you don’t get to experience Graeter’s ice cream.  I’m sure your city has its own wonderful cuisine that you can call your own.  There’s only one problem.  You don’t have Graeter’s.  You need to come visit us and grab a bowl or two.  The Bug and I shared a bowl of mint chocolate chunk and my wife had watermelon sorbet.  Oh so good!


Then, it was time to go home and get ready for bed.

Simple, fun, making memories.

I love my family!


How does your family make simple memories?  How do you celebrate family time?  Let us know in the comment section. 


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