Dear Stacy…. What do your nights and evenings look like? How do you do to relax? Do you have family night every night? I get asked a lot of questions about what the average evening looks like in the Myers house. Today, I’m attempting to answer them as a share the details of our family’s evening routine.
As you may know, we are a family of six and my husband works a traditional 8-5 job. It takes him about 45 minutes for his commute each way. Since he does not see the kids before he leaves for work, our quality family time takes place during the evenings. Our family time with him lasts from about 5:45/6 to 7:30/8pm. We have about two hours every evening as a family. This includes dinner and cleanup. In other words – our time together is pretty limited.
We have to be really intentional about our family time.
Our family time looks pretty similar almost every day. We have dinner together as a family, with no screens (phone, TV, iPad, etc.) allowed. When I finish eating, I start cleaning up the things on the counter and in the sink and the children clean off the table. The children are in charge of cleaning off the table, putting the dirty napkins down the laundry chute, putting dirty dishes in the sink, and sweeping the floor, while Barry and I do the rest of the dishes and kitchen cleanup.
After dinner what we do a family Bible time.
Right now we are working thru part of our school curriculum called Answers for Kids, which is from the Answers in Genesis folks. This probably takes is about 15-20 minutes. With little tiny kids, you cannot do long lessons together as a family or you’ll lose them. Let’s be honest – because of their age, you could even lose them if it’s a short lesson! It’s a little lesson and then scripture reading. Sometimes there’s a story or object lesson to go with it.
From there our night varies by the season.
If it’s warm, we are outside from dinner time until almost time for them to go to bed. If it is chilly or rainy, we will usually go downstairs and do our evening routine. Sometimes the kids want to play a game like Hungry Hungry Hippos. Which I will admit is extremely satisfying to play. Straight up. I get really, really into that. I think that probably if Barry ever caught me on video playing I would be really embarrassed if he ever posted it online.
Sometimes we will play on the Wii, like bowling or basketball. Sometimes we’ll even watch a movie. When I was first a mom, I felt ashamed to admit that I let my kids watch TV. Even though, when I was growing up, watching TV as a family was what we did after dinner. Home Improvement, Alf, Andy Griffith or something like that. We still don’t actually have TV service, but we do have a TV where we can stream content online or watch DVDs.
I have fond memories of relaxing and watching TV as a family and I think I turned out okay.
Most people think that a family time in the evenings has to be holy or super spiritual. It doesn’t have to be something that takes lots of planning or is a set schedule. That’s not what it’s about. Your kids won’t remember all that. What your kids will remember is that every night after dinner they had family time. It’s a time when we can all just relax and enjoy one another.
I know lots of people are super busy with sports, boy/girl scouts, church, youth group, and other activities that take you outside of the home. And I get that. But even 1 to 2 nights a week with dedicated family time after dinner will make a huge difference.
Try it out!
I promise it isn’t complicated! If it’s not simple and easy, I won’t consistently do it…and I bet you won’t either. You’re making memories without spending money or lots of time planning. And keep in mind that it won’t be perfect. Babies still cry, toddlers still throw tantrum… It is still real life! But it is worth it to consistently make memories together as a family.
If you try it and becomes a thing for you, please reach out and tell me. I would love to hear what works for your family. I get lots of ideas from y’all, so please share any thoughts you have.