1001 Tips for Military Families – #33

Tip #33 – Family Night

I know that military family life can be incredibly busy but…our kids have grown to love our Friday nights together.  It has become a part of our routine and by Thursday we are making plans for what we are going to all do together.  We do this every week, whether or not my husband is away or here.  This is the one night that my kids know I will be home and spending time with them and that is consistent.  I put my Blackberry on quiet and plug in it in the corner of the room (somewhere I can’t see the flashing red light), I check call display before answering the phone (only answering if it will be truly important and urgent – it has to be both!), I stay away from the computer and I give my kids the gift of my time.  Choose any night of the week that would work for your family.

Family Night Suggestions:

* Spa night (do hair, nails, facials, read magazines, etc.)

* Board games (the winner gets a free pass on dishes or another chore)

* Play on the Wii with them (they like it because I always lose!)

* Watch a movie, pop some popcorn

* Scrapbook

* Build a lego village (houses are fairly easy to build)

* Make cookies or do a craft together

* Make a package for an absent family member

* Pottery or ceramics (some bases have craft centres and they are amazing and often empty or under used)

* Swimming, skating or another sport you enjoy (you have to commit to doing it too so choose wisely!!)

* Paper mache (if you are brave and don’t care about how your house looks afterwards)

* Karoke (it is a good laugh for family members of all ages)

* Make a video for an absent family member or family that lives miles  away

* Read books together (my kids each choose one and I also pick one that I want to read to them too – it usually has some point I want to make about sharing, caring or listening)

* Go through family albums and make slide shows or send some of the latest photos to out of town friends and family or to a family member that is away

* Eat dinner on a tray in the living room (if that is what you normally do then change it up a bit and all eat at the dinning room table with some fancy dishes)

* Go to the park and actually get on the play structure with them (the first time I did it my kids were silenced – not an easy thing to do)

OR… Think of something your kids have been asking to do for ages and that you always put off or avoid and do it.

It isn’t really about what you are doing but that you are doing it together.  The most valuable thing you can give them is your time and it becomes especially important when a love one is away.

For more information about our tips, books or resources go to: http://www.WhileYouWereAway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@WhileYouWereAway.org

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