Last year my husband and I did a pretty good job of being intentional about having a “family fun night” once a week with our kids. We started this mini-tradition because we realized that we were spending far too many Saturday nights eating a moderately-satisfactory meal at a local restaurant just for the chance to have a night off from cooking. So we put together the idea of having rotating partners in our family plan the meal and a family activity every Saturday night. Sure- Mom & Dad would help with the cooking, but the two kids in charge of the evening had to make all of the decisions about what to cook, and they had to help prepare, serve, and clean up after the meal too. They also got to pick what we would do after dinner- a movie, a board game, cards, charades, whatever they thought would be fun.
Except that as we went along, “family fun night” got to be a little…. shall we say…. competitive. With each set of kids trying to outdo what was done the week before. We started upgrading from homemade pizza to steak on the grill, and then to sushi and shrimp cocktail. When one of the kids started demanding lobster tails and crab legs for family fun night…. we knew it had gotten out of hand. And then the holidays came upon us…. and pretty soon “family fun night” was a thing of the past.
But you know what the problem is with January? Left to their own- my kids would spend all day Saturday and Sunday just doing this:
Playing on their iPads while cuddling up with the dog. A pretty good deal for the dog…. but not so good for family bonding time. So I decided that it was time to bring back family fun night… but this time with a new set of rules. Meals have to simple, yet fun for us as a family. And if we are snowed in for the day (as we were on Saturday this past weekend!), then family fun night can start mid-afternoon and last into the evening! And this time- there wouldn’t be partners for planning. Mom and Dad would come up with the dinner menu and activity, and everyone is expected to pitch in and be a part of it. To kick off our new plan- I decided on a movie and a new recipe for salted caramel popcorn to go along with it.