We decided that in addition to family night, where we council together and have a lesson, we need a "fun family activity" night. I wanted to try letting the kids plan our "fun family activity" each week, and they are LOVING it. I appreciate their creativity, and the fact that they come up with ideas and activities that Josh and I would have never come up with. When they decide what we are doing they seem to have more fun. I have a calendar we are rotating through and each week they can't wait to find out who's turn it is to decide the "fun family activity" and what they are going to decide. Of course Caleb tries to persuade everyone to go with one of his ideas but ultimately it is their decision.
We haven't been doing this for long, but here are some of the fun things they've come up with. Caleb headed up a family nerf gun war. It was fun as parents to participate in the war and to learn the rules of the games they play. That night we also had a neighbor over with a big remote control helicopter and he took video of us shooting at him. We had a lot of bullets become casualty to the helicopter, but it was super fun. Cara chose painting ceramic piggy banks for her activity. It was fun to sit around the table and visit and paint. Both of these activities were things I would have never done without their encouragement. For Andy's activity we had pizza in a park and played. Ali also chose going to the park. We were lucky enough to feed baby ducks and find a boat to race down the creek on her park activity. This week it is John’s turn to choose the activity and we will be going swimming and out for ice cream.
Another new tradition we've implemented is dates with mom. I have a calendar with whose turn it is to go on a date with me each week. I have to keep it public so that the children will hold me accountable so that we make it happen. Life can be so busy that those important but optional things slip right through the cracks. We get to spend a couple of hours together doing whatever they choose. With such a big family I really have to concentrate to create one on one time with each of my children and this new plan is working like a charm!