Simplify Your Life with Estell Porter – Family Time on a Dime

(Last Updated On: April 25, 2014)

By Estell Porter

When my children were small we started a family night.  We all looked forward to having food, playing a game or looking at a movie.  Friday night was our night because our home had a rule that there was no television on Monday though Thursday, (with an exception of an hour on Thursdays to see Bill Cosby and A Different World).  Back then, as now, we had only one television set.  This was a purposeful decision.  This taught the children to share and to be open to others ideas and interests.

Starting a family night, to talk and find out what is going on in your child’s  life, is a great idea in today’s hectic, fast-paced world. Taking the time to “smell the roses” is essential to rearing strong, emotionally secure, independent children.  Over the years the tradition of families sitting down together for the evening meal has all but disappeared.  That’s what makes family night such a treat, you get to experience what was commonplace 20 years ago one day a week.

Here are 5 things to do to make your family night both desirable and memorable:

1.    Pitch the idea to your family (especially if your children are older).  Build momentum, create an anticipatory desire and make it fun.

2.    Set aside the day of the week that will be all about the family.  Make this a priority and ask everyone to say no to other invitations on that day.  Tell extended family and friends that you will be unavailable, unless it’s a life or death emergency.

3.    Plan family night at the house.   It’s too easy to go the local fast food restaurant and call it family time.  The idea is to spend time together, not just in the same location.   If you have small children, rotate who gets to select the activity or movie and menu.  Put a calendar on the wall and let the kids plan what they want to do on their day.

4.    Set and keep to a budget.   Homemade activities are fun and help your child become more creative.

5.    Commit to turning off all electronics that night.  Although it is tempting to text and look at Facebook, Twitter, etc., don’t.  Tell each person in your family that they are important by making them the priority on that day.  (What you do now, you will get later… be sure you want those results.)

“The Cats and the Cradle” By Harry Chapin 

Sourcehttp://www.lyricsdepot.com/harry-chapin/cats-in-the-cradle.html

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

Simplify Your Life with Estell Porter – Family Time on a Dime