family nightThe family bonds that you create while your children are young provide a sturdy foundation for weathering the more turbulent middle school and teen years. Setting aside a special night when the family can come together to participate in shared activities can strengthen family bonds, reinforce mutual respect and encourage open parent-child communication -- all things that will help you and your child maintain your bond as your child becomes more independent.

Scheduling Family Time

Everyone needs to commit to being there for family time. Some families set aside the same day or evening of the week (often a weekend) for family time. Other families, schedule family time weekly. Just make sure you get it on the calendar.

What Do You Want to Accomplish?

Family time need not require a major excursion or financial outlay. A family trip to the zoo, museum or a local festival makes a nice treat; but more mundane activities are equally effective. Look for activities that:

• allow all members of the family, from toddlers to teens, to participate;

• encourage interaction, listening and discussion between family members;

• create an opportunity for parents and children to work or play together; and

• are fun!

Family Activities to Try

Try a few of these family time ideas from our Horizon Education staff:

• Plan and cook a meal together.

• Go on a picnic.

• Play active outdoor games like baseball or tag.

• Play creative group games like charades or Pictionary.

• Build a model plane or backyard fort.

• Plant and care for a garden.

• Go for a walk and stop for ice cream.

Let your children help choose activities. Family time ideas are only limited by your imagination.

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