Let me start with why family dates are important. After a divorce, children may be feeling lost.  They may be wondering where they fit in. Once they fit in with Mom and Dad, but now Mom and Dad are separated, so do they fit in more with Mom? Do they fit in more with Dad? Are they in trouble if they fit in one place more than the other?

Having family date nights can make your child feel included, safe, and loved. In other words, they feel like they fit in. By making family date nights a regular thing, it takes everyone’s minds off of the transition, off of the divorce itself, and off of other stressors that are a normal part of life.

With that said, here’s a list of 10 Family Date Night ideas that are cheap, easy, and, in my opinion, fun!

  1. Movie Night. But here’s where you make it more fun. Make it a themed movie night! If you’re watching Harry Potter, pull a recipe for ButterBeers for everyone to enjoy while watching. Download a Bingo sheet with quotes from whatever movie you’re watching or dress up as the characters in the movie. Winner picks the next movie for movie night! Whatever you do, don’t just make it another night in front of the TV, make it fun. Bonus points for getting your kids involved in the ideas!

  2. Travel Around the World. Or at least have cuisine from around the world during dinner. Pick a country, look up some of the famous cuisine and then get to work in the kitchen! Add to your dinner with trivia or fun facts from the country you choose.

  3. Game Night. Pull out the games that you used to play as a kid or charge up the xbox Remotes, but make sure the entire family is involved. You can be as involved as creating a tournament or as simple as picking a game out of a hat and playing it.

  4. Get Some Culture. Find a museum, a new library, or a concert that your entire family can enjoy and splurge on tickets to get in. Getting out of the house will be welcome for everyone involved and you’ll be adding a positive memory to everyone’s memory banks.

  5. Be Active. When was the last time you went for a bike ride together? What about something as simple as a hike in a state park? Again, you’re getting out of the house, and the activity is proven to create those happy-chemicals in the brain. Who doesn’t want those?

  6. Find a Sporting Event. Whether you’re in a city or town that has a major sporting team or not, there are always sports events going on. There’s nothing like a live crowd cheering for their side to make everyone feel excited, and a little game-day nachos never hurt, either!

  7. Make it a “Favorites” Night. Everyone gets to pick their favorite food and it’s all served up banquet style. Yes, you’ll have mac ‘n cheese, chinese, pizza, and tacos ready all in one night, but then you’ll have leftovers for a week, too. Get everyone to try each other’s favorites, and open up their tastebuds to something new.

  8. Volunteer. Go to a local animal shelter and offer to clean cages, pack some clothing up for the homeless and head to a homeless shelter, or offer to volunteer in a local food bank sorting and storing. What a lesson for your kids and a great way to spend time together as a family.

  9. Cupcake Wars. Whether you watch the show or not, your family can have their very own cupcake wars in your house. Bake the cupcakes, then put toppings out on the table for everyone to decorate. Have a blind vote for the winner, but know that in this event, everyone wins because you all get to eat the cupcakes after!

  10. Camp Out. If weather permits you from camping in the back yard, then bring sleeping bags to the living room, turn off the lights, pass out the flashlights and don’t forget the marshmallows! Tell stories, sing songs, and just enjoy each other’s company. It’s another memory that you and your kids will have for years.

Once you get started on family date nights, your kids won’t want to stop and will start asking when you get to do them again. They’ll start coming up with ideas and before you know it, you have a full-blown tradition on your hands.

Comment below with your ideas for family date night so others can benefit from the memories!

These family dates are one of the most important ways to keep communication open in your house! Get more tips in this video and worksheet. 

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach