My kids are all raised now. When I was growing up my family was not close. I decided I would do all I could when I had kids to create a close family. As a result of this my wife and I often took our three sons to places like the zoo and fun parks and other weekend jaunts.
However, I found out some important information by accident.
We were scheduled to go visit a relative out of town and while there take in some sites. The boys were really looking forward to it. However, the relative had to delay our getting together a day so we were “stuck at home” for an evening.
So bravely I bragged to the family that I would see we had a good time. (I had no idea what to do)
I left in the car and sort of drove around. Then I remembered how much fun my wife and I had playing charades. I knew the boys loved a certain pizza and a certain movie. So I went to a video store, got the film and a microwave bucket of popcorn along with some theater candy.
My master plan was hatched.
I came home with the pizza and film. The first thing that we did was eat our pizza. Then my wife and I taught the boys charades. We wrote film titles, book titles, song titles and well-known quotes on pieces of paper. We then taught the boys how to “communicate by the rules” and score points. We put my wife and me on one team against the boys.
We played the game for a long time and they didn’t want to stop when we did.
At that point we popped the popcorn and broke out the candy and put the movie on. We watched the movie and talked to each other the whole time as we watched.
When it was over it was pretty late but the boys were wide awake and begged to do something else. So, we went out and went to an all-night restaurant and had breakfast.
The next day we went on our way.
Today, when our family gets together that evening inevitably comes up.
There are certain aspects of that evening that I repeated and I learned a few things.
Children love “dad” to bring home food as a surprise.
It isn’t as much fun if something is delivered and even if you go out to eat.
Children love to do multiple things in one night.
Children love to play games as a family.
Children love for parents or grandparents to be involved in activities. Actually I would expand that to say they love adults to be involved.
“Family Nights” are not rocket science but they solidify the family.
There of course are families that don’t have both parents but I think in that case it is even more important to create a family heritage.
Family heritage, closeness, family nights, call them whatever you wish.
Parents can never know what family intimacy means to a child until their raised or sadly in some cases when they never get it.
Reference: Personal Experience