The nightlife around the Hurdle House is about as exciting as any other family’s that I know. Dance practice, meetings at church and the ever popular wait-until-the-last-minute-to-spend-your-entire-evening-building-a-replica-of-the-Parthenon-out-of-toilet-paper-rolls. That about sums up our weeknights.
Lately, I’ve realized that the elementary school years, have started to take our family in separate directions for more hours of the day than we are together. And It’s made me feel like those sweet hours of us all lying on the floor working puzzles together shouldn’t have to be relegated to only snow days. So, in efforts to pull us all together for some intentional time, I’ve gotten fired up about weekly family nights.
My husband and I have very irregular work schedules, so it’s not a set night each week, but it is a meal together, a brief time of spiritual formation and a game.
Each week we’ve been faithful to initiate this time together (vs. turning the TV on), it’s been awesome--not without the typical sibling rivalry or parental weariness--but worth it. PLUS, several families we know who have been practicing weekly family nights for years, claim that this 2-hour time block has been a huge factor in keeping their teens close through the years. If that’s the case? Bring on the family nights, folks.
Here are a few of the simple family night ideas that have been successful at our house:
1. Backwards Dinner + Would You Rather: This night is my daughter’s favorite because it means we eat (drumroll please) dessert first! Then our starch, then green, then protein last! It’s like we are breaking all the rules in all the right ways and she absolutely loves it. After dinner, we read from one of our favorite children’s Bibles and discuss for as long as their little attention spans will last (5 min tops), leave the dishes for later and play a fun game of “Would You Rather”. We fill a bowl with questions like “Would you rather go to the beach or mountains?” “Chocolate or Fruity?” “Would you rather be invisible or able to read minds?” etc. We’ve found the kids come alive with these questions because it makes them feel pursued and known! Perfect for those whose love language is quality time!
2. Superstar Supper: Try pampering momma by using paper plates on Family Nights so dishes are lower maintenance and so you can play the Superstar game! One mystery plate has a star marked on the bottom and the person who ends up with this plate gets to choose a conversation question for the family to discuss, which passage of Scripture gets read, a special treat like popcorn or hot chocolate after dinner and what game is played. This is a really fun low maintenance way to make one member of the family feel like the Superstar they already are.
3. Picnic + Prayer: There’s nothing better than grabbing an old bedsheet and setting up a picnic in the living room for supper. It can turn an average delivery pizza into fine dining in the mind of a child. After everyone has eaten, have the family draw names and take prayer requests from whomever they choose. Spend some time letting kids pray for each other, etc. It’s so incredibly sweet to hear kids approaching the Throne of Grace on behalf of their family members.(How great is it that we have a God who says, Let the little children come?!)
4. Bake For the Neighbors/Serve Together: It seems that we tend to stop by our neighbors’ homes only during the holidays or if we desperately need to borrow an egg. Being intentional and creating ways for our family to serve together has provided priceless memories. Plus, as you bake you can talk about Biblical hospitality and pray for your neighbors. Maybe even invite the neighbors over for a game of Uno or Heads Up later that week!
5. Memory Verse + Play Memory: It’s embarrassing how much more Scripture my children have memorized than I have! I’ve been convicted by that for a while, so as one of our family time initiatives, I’ve tried to get the kids to help me memorize a verse with a few helpful motions. It’s brought lots of laughter to our dinner table and together we’re filling the bank account of our minds and hearts with deposits that won’t return void. This week we are working on Romans 13:14 which says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provisions for satisfying the flesh.” Once we got the verse down pat, we played a few rounds of the card game, Memory, and had a blast.
Why not try one of these 5 Simple Family Night Ideas and let us know how it goes! Do you have any good ideas to add to our list? We’d love to hear how you intentionally create space for your family to connect.
Kitty Hurdle is a missionary, momma and majorly obsessed wife. She and her family live in Oxford, Mississippi where they serve with Cru. Her passion is writing to encourage women to live out their faith in the season of life God has for them. You can read more of her work at her blog,www.joelandkitty.com and follow her on, Instagram.