If we got to live under the same roof, shouldn’t we enjoy each other’s company?
1. A Night at the Table
Try at least a night a week to get the whole family together around the dinner table. Put on some good music, but not too loud to talk. Serve a meal that doesn’t necessitate the cook always getting up. Then talk and listen. The kids may balk and sulk, but eventually they’ll connect.
2. Pizza Night
We have a Pizza and Pie night each Friday. We mostly make a pizza but sometimes send out for one. We make a homemade pie, different each week – delicious! Then we’ll eat and watch a movie as a family. We have fun repeating back the lines or comparing one movie to another. Over time, this has become a tradition the kids hold as inviolate, or not to be broken.
Go to church. Find a small group Sunday School or Life Group that encourages discussion of the Scriptures as applied to life. Sometimes you may have to pull your family back together for a service as even the church can separate us into age groups. Once home, ask each family member what they learned.
Taking a vacation doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s these extended times together that make such lasting memories for you and your children. And don’t argue. Plan what you’ll do, where you’ll stay, and how to get there. If you need to ask directions, then follow your wife’s advice and pull over to ask someone. Some vacations are go, go, go. Others can be relaxing and lazy. Whichever, have fun.
5. TV off and Talk
There’s a small button on the remote that will actually turn the TV off. Amazing! Try limiting screen time (and there’s lots of screens surrounding us now) each night and then find that you can talk to each other without Facebook or texting or channel surfing. Remarkable!
6. Read a Book Together
Choose a book that the youngest child can follow but will still interest the oldest. This itself may be a chore. Then read a bit each week. Alternately, take time to read short books or a chapter of a longer book each night to each child. It’s an investment in time, but you know where your children are and what’s going in their heads.
7. Work Together
There are chores that have to get done. Some can be done with each other, or some are individual jobs in the same proximity. Sometimes just presence is needed to become closer.
8. Time Alone
For smooth running relationships, everyone needs alone time to recharge. This is especially true among people living in the same home. It’s so you won’t drive each other crazy.
Thanksgiving can be a time when your immediate family reconnects with your extended family. Try not to run higgly-piggly over the country or exhaust yourself in the kitchen or glue yourself to the football games, but give effort to be thankful.
Believe it or not, but Christmas can be a good family time. Don’t try to make the perfect Christmas and end up running yourself ragged. Prioritize each other and the season, not breaking the bank on gifts. Establish family traditions that mean something to each person but that don’t end up a big burden.