Saturday, March 01, 2008

Re-thinking Family Day

At our house, Sunday is "Family Day". We instituted this several years ago because John and I simply needed Sunday to look different from every other day of our week. If we're not careful, our Sundays tend to fill up with activity, and we believe that in order for our family to function well, we really need to have a day that is completely our own.

A typical Sunday for us includes going to church, a family trip to the library, and eating dinner together while watching America's Funniest Videos.

Our Sundays don't include playdates, birthday parties, ballgames, or other activities that splinter our family. We've also learned that every so often we need to break our own rules. Rigidity is not always a good thing!

Lately though, we haven't been very intentional about the "family" part of family day. It's great that we're all home together, but it's not unusual for each of us to be off doing our own thing. We're all together, but not really together in the sense that we're doing something as a family. John called me on this last week when I was whining about not wanting to go to the library with everyone, and as I've thought about it, he's really right. Family day is great, and sometimes it IS about just all being home together, but it's also a prime time to be doing something together. Like hiking. Or biking. Or working in the yard. Or on a puzzle. Or playing Yahtzee or Scattergories or A-Z or Uno or Cadoo.

So, I've been re-thinking our Sundays. I want to be intentional about planning things we can do together that we all enjoy. Really, this is SO much easier when it's spring or summer and we can be outside! Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and snowy, so maybe we'll pop some popcorn and make hot cocoa and watch a movie together. Or go sledding. Or bake some chocolate chip cookies. I need to do some more thinking and see what I can come up with! I don't want it to be a forced thing, and I still want there to be time for each of us to be off doing our own thing, but I'd love to have one activity that we can focus on doing together in the course of the day.

Any of you have a great suggestion for Family Day?


His Girl said...

I have no suggestions, but my advice is this: get out a calendar, and sit down with your kids- have THEM think of your sunday activities. They'll be much more creative, and also more likely to be excited about what you do!

I love that you are so protective of your family's time together! Totally inspirational!

Barbie said...

I love reading your blog but I have not commented (that I remember anyhow :) We used to have family day faithfully and really need to get back into it. What worked for us was to let the kids take turns planning the meal and activity for the day. We had three kids at the time and each week one would plan what we would eat and what we would do as a family. They loved having a choice and it gave us variety. Have fun in whatever you do!!

Melissa Stover said...

i feed my whole family after church on sundays. well, they all bring food but it's my aunts, uncles, cousins, mom and step dad.

this event takes up a good part of the afternoon and after that we relax or take naps.

i, too, like reserving sundays for rest and family time. and i think it's important to do that.

Casey said...

Growing up, our family days were always on Fridays. (My dad's a pastor and that was his day off). Two things come to mind- both of them centered on trying new things and adventures...

1. We would find a new park/trail/stream to explore. We called them "Bear Hunts" for some strange reason. Anyways... it was always a different spot (until we ran of new spots and started over). Sometimes we would take a picnic.

2. We would go out to lunch/dinner and try out a new restaurant. We would usually venture into unknown (but safe) parts of the big cities that we lived between. My dad was very good at finding those fantastic hole in the wall type places.

Anyway, those are just a few ideas that I loved growing up. As my husband and my's child(ren) grow up, we plan on doing the same.

Betsy said...

I don't have a suggestion that you haven't already've got some great ideas! But I'll be thinking.

I love the idea of your family day! Keep that going as long as possible & enjoy these times together. It will get harder when they all get to be teenagers!

Gretchen said...

What great ideas ahead of me here, Mer!

One thing that we do apart, and it fortifies our time together is quiet time. Everyone is too old here for naps (except Big and me :)), but we take an hour in our rooms for room time. This gives me the needed break to have some down time so I can do that puzzle or hike or game. It may be that you didn't want to go to the library with everyone else because you were slightly sick of them. An hour of doing your own thing, even on a family day, which we try to do too, BTW, is very useful for us.

What a great way to get us all thinking, Mer. :)xxxooogretchen

Teri H said...

I think it's great that you are being "intentional" about family Sundays... it does take planning! And I love the idea of the kids picking the meal and activity! We did this when ours were younger... and it is so true... once they are teenagers it's a lot harder to do! Enjoy today!

Jennifer said...

Great ideas~ I've found that we have created Family Day either on Saturday or Sunday because when I became too oriented on it being only on Sunday, it became too stressful. Hubby's business is non-stop and sometimes it finds that he has to work on Sunday afternoons (he doesn't like it, BUT when you own your own company you gotta do what you gotta do). So while we aim for Sunday, we plan one or the other. And sometimes both! When we changed it so it was more flexible, wow what changes we found! Everyone was more into the time and it was so nice and relaxing.

I love the idea of being outside. We'll take the kids dirt bike riding and enjoy the outdoors. It's fabulous!

Kecia said...

Hey Meredith,
I just played catch-up reading your last several posts...I hope everyone's better now. I HATE the flu. And I loved your Colorado post. I could relate to a few of them from our time in Idaho, but I guess each state is really so different they each need their own list!
And your Family Days sound cozy. We have family game night on Fridays, but lately we've been watching movies instead. I want to get back to games.
Get/stay healthy! :)K

Holly said...

A snow day-yay!! Wish I could have just ONE of your choc chip cookies fresh and hot from the oven--you should have extra, since you don't partake of the chocolate goodness :)

We have several things: our blessing box, playing games together, and also I read aloud from a book and everyone listens (mostly--hee hee). Lately we have been reading through the Chronicles of Narnia (my first time!) and last year I read The Hobbitt. A family project is also good for a Saturday: clean out the garage, paint, work on the yard, etc.

Praying for a fantabulous week for you, friend!

Kelly said...

I think family day sounds so FUN! I think it is great that you have set this day aside for your family!!!

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

I think some quiet time on the Sabbath Day could be a good thing (but I love how you took your retreat recently). I also love the idea of letting the kids take turns planning the family activities. Keep us posted!

Jessica said...

I love that you have family day! Your kids will be so grounded in morals and values as adults. Kuddos to you! : )

TracyMichele said...

How about getting everyone in the kitchen to cook a meal but don't stop there. Make a double batch of whatever you prepare, freeze one and later that week take it to an elderly or sick couple, take it to a single mom or share it with a neighbor. Have the children be thinking during the week of someone who might be in need of that sort of a blessing.

Your family day will not only continue to be about spending time together, it will be about teaching them to look for those in need and responding.