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Enjoying a night in with the kids

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 03-03-2009

Spending time with your kids does not have to involve shelling out for an expensive outing. In fact, it doesn’t even have to mean leaving the house.

It doesn’t matter whether you are single parenting or sharing the responsibility – all across the country fathers are discovering the pleasures of spending a weekly low-key evening at home with the children.

But what to do? The answer depends on the ages of your kids and their interests. Younger children may enjoy putting together a jigsaw puzzle or playing board games, while older ones may get a kick out of looking through family photos or making something with tools in the garage.

Some dads with savvy parenting skills have found that electing one of the kids to decide each week’s activity helps build enthusiasm. You may want to draw up a schedule so each child knows when it will be their turn to be in charge.

If one child has the responsibility of choosing what to do, let another select what the family eats that night. Relax your parenting skills and let your kids enjoy any treat they want – after all, it’s only once a week.

Preparing dinner can even be a family affair. Popular kid-friendly options include tacos, ice cream sundaes and pizzas. Particularly if you are single parenting, you may benefit from having kids who want to help out in the kitchen on a regular basis.

Remember that if you are introducing a family night in for the first time, it is important to set out some expectations, such as no playing video games or texting friends. The goal is for everybody to enjoy each other’s company, not to do their own separate activity.

A successful family night also takes a commitment from you. Don’t let work, friends or the big game get in the way of your family’s night together. Years from now, the great memories will still be with you.