Do It Yourself Sep 2015

End Your Day the Right Way

The start of the school year is usually jam packed.  Between homework, extracurricular activities, and careers, families spend most of their evenings running here and there, trying to make the most of the after school time.  As the sun starts to set, families begin to wind down for the evening.  Whether it’s in front of the television or behind a computer or phone, both kids and parents tend to spend more time focused on devices instead of each other as they look to reset from the day.

Recently, a new campaign started by Dixie asks families to go Dark for Dinner (http://www.dixie.com/darkfordinner) on Sundays – meaning turn off devices during dinner and intentionally communicate and interact during dinner.  We love this idea and want to take it even a step further by asking families to consciously put an effort towards creating quality time after dinner.  Instead of being connected to technology and disconnected from other family members, we encourage everyone to unplug and participate in social and emotional skill building at least one night a week.

Some suggested activities to build social and emotional skills as a family at night are:

  • Bike Rides:
    • Set goals as a family for distance or time
    • Greet and/or introduce yourself to neighbors on the way
  • Evening Walks:
    • Bring a trash bag along and pick up trash to help the community
    • Give each family member a block (or specific distance) to talk about their dreams
  • Puzzles:
    • Work together on a specific section of the puzzle each night until complete
    • Give each family member a specific part of the puzzle to focus on completing
  • Board Games:
    • After each game – have winners give praise to all other players
    • Have everyone select a game and compromise on which one to play
  • Outdoor Games:
    • Play flashlight tag and have kids make agreements as to the rules and boundaries
    • Play a game of soccer or basketball and have kids work on controlling emotional outbursts
  • Make Dessert:
    • Design a cookie or cupcake for another member of the family
    • Have each family member make their own unique treat
  • Imaginary Play:
    • Build a fort and have story telling time in the fort
    • Play dress up and have family members act out the positives in each other
  • Art Projects:
    • Encourage positive self-talk as kids draw and “mess up”
    • Paint or draw pictures of their blessings