by Rachel Webb
Religious leaders and even politicians around the world have preached that the family unit is breaking apart and needs to be strengthened. Holding a weekly family home activity night is one way that you can prioritize what is of value in your life and at the same time teach children a wide variety of lessons and skills that can strengthen your family morally & spiritually.
Weekly home activity night can strengthen communications skills and increase moral and spiritual beliefs. Positive values can be taught in the home with family councils, games, activities or family community service projects.
Any activity takes planning and Family Activity Night will only be successful with a little planning as well. First, you need to pick a night that will be reserved for Family Night. Most school and community evens are scheduled for the weekend so I would suggest that your Family Night be on a Monday or at the beginning of the week. Once you have chosen what evening of the week you will have it, you should start to make it a habit and all other events be scheduled for another night. Turn off the phone on this special night to set an example for the family that this night is a priority, that you are committed to it’s success. If there is a community or school activity that some of the family members cannot miss – make that event the family activity and include all family members.
Some families choose to assign each family member a song, short lesson, activity and treat. Let each child have a turn giving the lesson too, not just the parents. If you are Christian, you may also choose to assign a prayer and scripture as well.
Our family chose to also assign family member to be the official family historian to take pictures or our activities, keep a family journal and scrapbook the events.
Children of all ages will look forward to Family Night and will even remind parents about the special evening coming up. This is a perfect opportunity to set rules of the house. Issues of debate that come up through the week can also be saved and addressed at the upcoming family night where each family member can have input in solving the household problem. This helps each family member to feel like they are a vital part of your family unit where their opinion is respected.
Don’t try and address all your family problems in one night even if they are brought up in discussion. Select one idea to work on at a time so your family will not get overwhelmed.
FAMILY NIGHT RESOURCES
Several churches that advocate Family Home Activity Night have published a resource manual that you can use in teaching your family a wide variety of lessons from being honest to managing money, first aid or bike safety.
Your local library or online web sites can also offer help in planning activities to meet your families needs. You should plan a variety of activities and lessons in 6 areas.
1. FAMILY UNITY ACTIVITIES
As parents with four small children, we have tried to look at the immediate needs of our family and schedule a activity night plan around the struggles we are currently experiencing. If bad language or selfishness has been a problem throughout the week, a lesson is planned on those subjects. Addressing home problems in this way does not single out any individual family member and yet allows us to address the challenges that are threatening the harmony of our home.
Keep your lessons short and age appropriate. Young children may need lessons on sharing or understanding those who are different, while older children may be ready for a family discussion on chastity or drug abuse.
2. LEARNING ACTIVITIES
These lessons might include a family cooking segment, learning magic tricks or doing puzzles. Family Night does not always need to be a serious discussion or lesson. Your family can be strengthened while playing board games together.
3. CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Family night is a perfect opportunity to teach the family music appreciation, arts and crafts, poems, a new dance or love of drama. Visit the historical opportunities nearby and study about the pioneers. Learn about how other religions or cultures celebrate holidays around the world. Teach the family about their heritage and genealogy.
4. NATURE ACTIVITIES
Teach your family an appreciation for nature by learning about your area’s natural resources and plan recreational activates at nearby mountains, lakes or caves. You could grow a garden, plant fruit trees, make snow sculptures, gather sea shells or go bird watching. Learn about conservation and plan ways to conserve energy in your home.
5. PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Have a family kite flying day or learn to play a new sport together. You may want to have a family Olympic games and offer prizes for the winners. Go on a family bike ride and learn about bike safety. You could also set up a family exercise program and learn about physical fitness.
6. FAMILY PREPAREDNESS ACTIVITIES
Natural disasters are becoming more and more common and family night activity is a great opportunity to help your family prepare. Make sure your family knows your fire escape plan and practice a fire drill. Make a survival kit or make a list of emergency telephone numbers. Learn how to secure and protect your home from thieves. Teach the kids about CPR, choking, bleeding or water safety.
No matter what activities you plan the important thing is that family members spend quality scheduled time together weekly and that each member feels loved and important to your family unit.