Overhaul your family’s evening with these 2 easy changesJul 22, 2019
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This post will benefit you if you need a better evening routine that promotes family and individual time.
One thing I know for sure is that every family’s evening “routine” looks different. Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, some people spend dinner at the table while others are eating in the car from play practice to soccer games.
There’s no right or wrong way to spend your evenings, but many parents struggle to incorporate “family time” into their busy schedules. And while it’s critical to our family units, it doesn’t always feel realistic.
There are two ways to make sure your family bonding time doesn’t take a back seat to your calendar. Both are practical and can be adapted to fit your family’s lifestyle.
1. Cheers and Challenges
When you’re running all around town and tablets or music are consuming your kid’s attention in the car, it’s tough to feel like you’re connecting with them. You want to know about their day, yet they’re not always forthcoming with the details.
One way to make sure everyone is staying connected is to implement time for daily cheers and challenges. At some point in the evening (whenever works for your family), have everyone share one part of their day that you can celebrate together. Then, ask each family member to talk about a challenge they faced during the day.
Cheers and challenges are so impactful for several reasons:
- It forces everyone to find a positive in a bad day.
- It makes it okay to talk about the not so great experiences that happen to all of us.
- You’re able to show your kids that you experience ups and downs, too, and that’s normal.
- Everyone gets an opportunity to boast about successes and feel proud.
- Your family can help come up with solutions to challenges together.
- When something is bothering your kid(s), they have an outlet every day and don’t have to keep it inside.
Examples of Cheers
An A on a spelling test
Helping someone clean up after lunch
Turning in a proposal at work
Examples of Challenges
Getting turned down for a dance
Having the baseball game get rained out
Struggling on a test
Having to stay late at work
2. Family (+ a little me) time
Even though we crave time to ourselves, sometimes at the end of the day we just haven’t had time for any. But there’s a solution to make sure you’re checking two boxes at once by implementing family time while adding a touch of “me” time in the process.
Whenever you can, spend 20 minutes to an hour together as a family in the evening. If it’s nice outside, go on a walk or bike ride. Even 15 minutes is better than nothing when you’re getting some exercise. After you get home, have mandatory quiet time. It’s an opportunity for everyone to wind down before bed by reading, writing, drawing, etc. Just make sure you avoid screens.
You get to be a part of this, too, mom. This is not the time to finish the dishes. That means you get at least 20 minutes to yourself to read, journal, or simply sit there and do nothing. Sounds glorious, right? It is, and you can have those moments nearly every night.
Make this part of your evening/before-bed routine, and your family will start to look forward to this time. I had a mindset coaching client try this with her family, and she couldn’t believe the difference it made when she started her kids’ bedtime routine. They were calm, settled, and ready to go to sleep.
As always, remember to adapt to your family’s schedule. So, if you have cheerleading until 8 pm and can’t have dinner together, trying sharing Cheers and Challenges on the way to or from practice. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get family quiet time in every night. Do it as often as possible and celebrate when you can squeeze it in.
Also, your kids don’t have to be school-age to start either of these evening additions. For example, you can ask toddlers, in a way they can understand, what their favorite and least favorite parts of the day were. Even if the answers don’t make total sense, you’re starting them on the right track of sharing. And as for that quiet time, have your little ones “read” to themselves or color a picture.
Try these evening game-changers and let me know how they work for you. And if you have other ways to have more family and “me” time in the evening, please share below or contact me directly.
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