Do family members still talk to each other when they are at home? Kids and parents hardly see each other’s faces (even when they are moving around the same house), because almost everyone is locked on an online game or a friend’s latest post on social media. It is such a sad reality of what can now become an everyday normality for families. What can be more frustrating for parents is that kids no longer want to appreciate family activities, hardly listen to parent’s advice and even take their problems to the entire world before their parents know about it.
Although technology now plays a big part in our daily life, parents still have a major role to play in putting their children’s life in the balance. That is, giving them room to explore the world and learn new things around them. At the same time, they must be kept aware of what life is all about besides Facebook and Instagram – of course I’m not talking about the extremes such as the recent confession from Kirsty Allsopp, I don’t personally think that smashing the children’s tablets is the answer and we should exercise other ways of regaining control away from screens again. I’ve taken to turning off the WiFi at the kids bedtimes so they aren’t watching YouTube before bedtimes and instead watch a relaxing DVD or read a book, of course Emmy moaned for a week but breaking a bad habit is always a good thing in the end.
Here are some fun engaging activities which you could do as a family while keeping the iPad off and the phones on mute.
Barbecue in The Garden
It can be fun if you assign tasks to everyone. Let the kids help in preparing the meat to barbecue or let them assist in setting up the fire on the grill. Carefully guide them through slicing the meat. Also, you can have them wash and prep the veggies and fruits which you may either grill together with the meat or as a separate menu. Make it a teaching moment. Help them become more aware that fruits and vegetables are not only healthy food but add colour to the main entrée, the barbecue. The weather hasn’t quite turned yet so it’s time to squeeze in a few more while you can.
Alternately, mine love to toast marshmallows over the fire pit accompanied by hot chocolate or making their own Smores.
Family Game Night Is Tonight
Buy tickets for the whole family for that football game or any sporting event in the community. Watch and cheer altogether as a family. It can stir up more excitement if you guys vie for different teams. However, if your kid’s team loses the game, make them feel better by taking them to their favourite burger joint after the game.
If you aren’t into these types of sports why not go on a family bike ride, see who can sink the most hoops in the park or even hit the driving range for some family fun. We also love to go on long walks and explore.
Bet On A Board Game
Get your dinner delivered by the kids favourite Chinese restaurant. After dinner, ask them to help make up the dishes and the kitchen area. When everyone else is settled, bring out the scrabble, chess or monopoly and make sure everyone gets a part in the game, either as an opponent or a scorer. Make the game more fun by betting, not really with real money, but rather some funny penalties like losers drink a glass of water (this would be something Harry protests about), eat a hot pepper, tidy their bedrooms or one day without a gadget.
Our favourite family games are Yatzee and Pass the Pigs.
It is not a game, or really that entertaining, but getting the kids to clean up their own rooms will teach them how to take care of their belongings. Lead them on the step-by-step clean up process. Sort out old shoes and things which they don’t use anymore, and arrange the ones they currently use. Doing so, they will learn the value of giving things that may not be of use to them but may be a necessity to others.
Of course you could always turn it into a competition for a little more added fun.
- Set a timer and go head to head in the clean up
- See who can put away 10 toys first
- Grab a basket and grab all items from that room which don’t belong there
- Crank up the music and dance around while cleaning up
We love a good old fashioned card game, the kids have learnt quite a few now – Rummy, Go Fish, Poo Head (A game Paul and I played when younger but we called it Shit Head – I’ve renamed for the kids), Pairs, Snap and a few others.
Make Up Stories or Read a book together
We like to make up stories together, taking turns to say a few lines and then the next person carries the story on.
This can last forever and can get rather silly especially when it’s Harry’s turn!