Archives For Tips

Making Time

October 18, 2010

As the mom to three children, I often struggle to find time for one on one time with each of my kids. I want each one of them to know that they are loved and valued. I want to build confidence into how God has uniquely created them. The November 2010 issue of Disney Family Fun Magazine offers some great tips from parents on how carve out time for each child. In their magazine, they suggest trying some of the following strategies:

  • Two Twofer Tuesdays — Every Tuesday, this family divides and conquers! One parent and one child spend time doing an activity that the child chooses. The other parent is also spending time with another child. The next week, they switch. This is great for parents of two children. If you have more, the child not spending time with mom or dad can spend time doing something special such as playing on the computer, watching a special show or playing with a friend.
  • Bedtime Bonus — Another family, with five children, had a great solution for making special time for each child. Each night of the week, one child got to stay up 15 minutes past their bedtime. They get to choose with whom they want to spend the time with, either mom or dad. The other parent is responsible for putting the other children to bed! Brilliant! They spend time talking, playing a game, reading or even packing lunches for the next day.
  • Time Cards — In this family, also with five children, each child has a Special Time with Dad card, which is basically an index card. This card allows the child 10-15 minutes of undivided attention from Dad. To redeem, each child can use it weekly by giving the card to Dad. They spend the time, playing a game, working a puzzle or even running an errand. This gives the child the ability to request special time when they need it!

I think these are great, easy ways to incorporate special one on one time with each child. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Daddy Dates —Once a month, Dad can take one child on a special date. This can be to get ice cream, out to eat or even to the park. What is important is to show your child a special time!
  • Kitchen Duty —Have one child help you in the kitchen while cooking dinner. This allows you to spend time together making dinner for your family and having the chance to talk to your child about their day.
  • Breakfast Buddy — Take your child to eat breakfast before school for a special way to start the day. Mom or Dad can take one child to eat breakfast while the other parent takes care of the other children.

It truly isn’t about QUALITY time with our children. What matters to them, is QUANTITY time. How are you investing in each of your children? Let us know how you make an effort to spend time with each child!

We all know that the early years of our children are paramount to the foundation for their entire lives. What actions, words and attitudes you are sending to your kids? We send hundreds, if not, thousands of messages to our kids, many unintentional. What if we were intentional about the message we gave displayed and gave to your children.

During the first eight to nine years of their life, there are five specific messages we need to send to our children:

1. You are loved.
2. You are unique.
3. You have gifts.
4. You are safe.
5. You are valuable.

What are some intentional ways you are sending these messages to your sons and daughters?

How Often?

July 24, 2010

How Often Should You Have Family Night?

This is a question that each family has to answer when they begin the journey of themed family nights. A themed family night is different than a general night, hanging out with your family. While spending time with your family is essential to developing strong kids, a themed night, is focused around a specific characteristic or scripture passage. A themed family night also takes more planning, so the question becomes how many is realistic for you to plan and carry out during a month. Here are a few questions to discuss in determining how many themed nights to have each month:

  1. How much time do I have to plan for each themed family night? Planning, researching, and shopping for a family night takes time. You can estimate between one and four hours of prep time for each family night, depending on how intricate and elaborate your night is. This does not include the day of preparation time to get ready for your family night.
  2. What activities does our family participate in each week? Look at your calendar  to determine how many evenings you have free each week or during the month.  If your Thursdays are generally free, then you know that this is a good day to have a themed family night. It is important to schedule your family nights and put them on the calendar.
  3. How many do you think seems reasonable or realistic? Each family is different in makeup, stage of development, involvement in outside activities and if parents work or stay home. All these things effect how many family nights you feel you can pull off each month.

After discussing and answering these questions, set the number for a month that seems reasonable. For our family, we have a goal of two themed family nights per month. Some months it is more, some less. The important thing is to be together as a family. Be aware though, that your children will love themed family nights! They will ask for more! So, set a goal for your family and then after having a few, determine if it is a good amount for your family. Remember, your children are worth it!

Welcome to Family Muscle, a site designed to help you strengthen your family through intentional, fun, focused nights set around a theme and God’s Word.

Planning Your Family Night

Family Nights take place across the world every night. Sitting around a dinner table talking, watching a movie, playing games, riding bikes or reading books are all great ways to connect, as a family, at the end of the day. In the busyness of life, we can often forget to take the time to be intentional and focused on developing the faith of our children. Our desire is there, so we often fall back on what comes natural and is easy. Family Muscle is designed to help you take a night, centered around a theme and a devotional, to focus on your family, build memories and teach Scripture.

Here are some easy steps to begin having a family night:

  1. Set a goal of how many family nights you want to have a month:Taking the time once a week to disconnect from the world and engage your family is essential is developing a strong foundation of trust and faith. Not every family night has to be planned to the minute! We encourage you to look at your schedules and set a goal for how many family nights you would like to have a month. We suggest at least 2 a month.
  2. Pick a night:
    Having a set night each week to have a family night gives everyone something to look forward to, as well as giving you a night that will become sacred for your family.  Putting family nights on the calendar makes planning smoother and gives you a chance to create anticipation for your children.
  3. Pick a Theme: Choosing a theme is the easy part! You can base if off of the season of the year, a holiday, what you have on hand, or even what you find on sale at a store.  We had a Luau night after finding décor at a local dollar store. Always be on the lookout for what can be easily used for a family night!
  4. Read over the Themed Family Night guide.  We have made it easy by giving you all you need for planning a family night, from the menu to the devotional! Read over what supplies you need and what Scripture you will be using in your devotional.  This will help ease the stress on family night and allow you to focus on enjoying the night.
  5. Enjoy your family! Being intentional in your family night requires some extra work, some planning and with that sometimes stress! Remember that it is about being with your family, connecting with each other over food, fun and focusing on a truth from Scripture.