We recently launched an official family night around our house. It’s on our shared iCloud Calendar, currently set to repeat every Wednesday night into eternity.
I want to share a little bit about what we’re doing as we figure this out, and hear your ideas to create intentional family time as well.
Step 1: Be at home
As mentioned, we put it on the calendar. Wednesday night is family night. This means we consider ourselves “booked” for the evening and unable to make other plans. This is our way of protecting and prioritizing our time together.
Step 2: Dinner together
We start out our evening with a nice dinner together. I try to put a little extra effort into it. You know, maybe not frozen pizza this night.
I try to have this hot on the table when my husband gets home from work. During this time, we eat and talk together and catch up on everyone’s day.
Once done, the kids do some little jobs to help get dinner cleaned up or go play with dad while I finish the job. Then when move on to family devotion time.
Step 3: Family devotions
While some families do this daily, we took a hard look at our current schedule and determined once a week was what we could commit to consistently.
Life with God isn’t a “once-a-week” deal, so we pray together throughout each day, read Bible stories, and talk about God as a lifestyle. When we do our devotions, we’re able to bring all this living and talking to the table and unpack it as a family.
- Tell a Bible story. We started out trying to read the story in its entirety (from the Jesus Storybook Bible), but this wasn’t working for the ages of our kids (4, 2 and baby). We found that telling a shorter version of the story kept them more engaged.
- Talk about the story. We ask questions and explain it a bit more. We help identify who God is in the story apply it to our kids lives, as well as showing them how we’re applying it to ours.
- Give thanks. We ask them what they’re thankful for.
- Pray together. Each person says what they would like to pray for, then formulates a prayer accordingly. This way our kids get to hear our hearts as we take our personal concerns to the Father. We do keep these short though.
Step 4: Gratitude and affirmation
So, that’s what we’re doing!
We want to give our children opportunities to practice and experience affirming one another and showing gratitude. And my husband and I want to be intentional about calling out and praising the good that we see in them regularly. Not to flatter them, but to point out good choices they are making or ways they have served.
Step 5: Have fun!
No TV comes on, but we have fun. This usually amounts to my husband throwing pillows and chasing the kids around for the last hour of our evening while they giggle uncontrollably, which is about the same as every night. 🙂
As they get older, it may mean playing a game. In nice weather it may mean going outside with them. Whatever we want to do!