Portland Marriage Counselor: Ideas for Family Date Night

December 30, 2014 by

You’re probably familiar with the idea of a date night—a romantic night when you and your spouse hire a babysitter and hit the town, just the two of you, for some much-needed alone time. It’s the perfect opportunity to reacquaint, catch up, and relax. Fewer people, however, are probably familiar with the idea of a “family date night.” But for busy families with hectic schedules, a family night can be just what the doctor ordered for parents and kids alike.

Studies have shown that spending time with parents can be beneficial for teens (so don’t let your teenagers’ seeming reluctance and aloofness get you down!) and Portland marriage counselors agree that family date nights are a great way to strengthen family bonds. If your kids are constantly hooked to electronics, or if they’re always out with their friends, or if the only time they seem to want to talk to you is when they need a ride or money, a family night might be just the trick to getting everyone together again.

The possibilities for family date night activities are endless. Some ideas include:

  • Going out for dinner and/or to see a movie
  • Having craft nights or game nights at home
  • Camping
  • Taking up a new skill (e.g., taking yoga classes as a family)
  • Activities such as bowling, mini golf, or roller skating
  • Weekend getaways or daytrips

How to Get Family Date Nights Going

If you’re not quite sure how to implement family date nights, here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it. If everyone in the family is on board, agree to make family date night a priority. Convey to everyone the importance of the night, and set a date night schedule that everyone can stick to.
  2. Include everyone. Take turns assigning who gets to choose the activity from night to night so that no one feels left out or ignored. This is especially important if you have two or more children with significant age differences.
  3. Talk to each other. If your kids agree to a date night, that suggests that they’re at least somewhat open to talking to you, spending time with you, and bonding with you. These date nights are perfect opportunities to broach some difficult conversations. Seize the opportunities to communicate with your family. Invite your kids to do some sharing by first doing some of your own.

Spending time together as a family is extremely important for both parents and children. Not only can it improve your kids’ social skills, it can also make the whole family feel closer and more connected.

For more family date night tips or for if you have additional concerns about the way your family interacts, contact a Portland marriage counselor today.