I doubt that I made this phrase up, but I blurted out, “What is this? Family Fun Night?!” in a sarcastic tone when I was about 15 and my parents made me stay home to play Scrabble. My parents started this tradition where we all had to stay home and play board games with each other on Friday nights. What teenager wants to sit at home on a Friday night with their parents? Part of me thinks that this was a ploy to keep me from hanging out with my boyfriend. The worst part was that my sister and I were always on the same team when we played Scrabble, and always lost. I think our biggest word was “the.” My brother always kicked our butts, and so did our parents. So not only was Family Fight Night a way to ruin my high school social life, but I never even won at the game we were playing.
Today, I look back on Family Fun Night and smile. My sister and I still jokingly complain about how awful it was, and how bitter we still are for being put on the same team. Our brother still reminds us how terrible we are at playing Scrabble. It seemed awful at the time, but it was always a great time. We still play board games together and my brother still wins. And now that we have Chloe, we hope to start our own Family Fun Night.
Chloe loves Horton Hears a Who and will not go to sleep unless we read it to her. She’ll scream, “Horton Time!!!” when it’s time for nap and bedtime, so we decided to get her the Horton DVD. After dinner one evening, we made air popped popcorn, told Chloe we had a surprise for her, and watched the movie as a family. It was Chloe’s first movie and our first ever Family Fun Night.
Chloe was unbelievably excited about the movie and so captivated. We read the book so often that she knew what was going on in the story line, and could point out characters from the book. It was like the book had come to life! She wanted to hug the TV so she could hug Horton. Around 8:15, she rubbed her eyes and told us it was Horton time. Chloe and Papa read the book together and she fell asleep. We didn’t get to finish the movie but we got off to a great start and more importantly, had so much fun together.
We try our best to carve out family time every night, but sometimes life gets in the way. It’s important to us that we sit down together for dinner each night, and it usually happens, but sometimes Papa Jumper has to work late, or I have to work in the evenings, or he’s out of town on business. Sometimes we’re running errands after dinner or cleaning up the house. But having a designated family fun night will help us all relax together, connect, and have fun. We figure we’ve got about ten more years of Family Fun Night before Chloe thinks it’s lame, so right now we’re cherishing the extra snuggles. Until then, I picture us having Family Fun Night on a weekly basis. I’m sure we’ll play the tried but true board games that we all complain about but secretly love. I’m also a big fan of movie night. And, as the holidays roll around, I’d love to incorporate themed nights — like baking Christmas cookies all together!
Did you have Family Fun Night growing up? Do you think you’ll incorporate it into your family traditions?