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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Family Fun Nights (FFN ) The Teen Edition.

The Sullivans ( friends of mine and Greg's from college) created a new blog Tag Team Marriage (Brilliant idea guys) and one of their recent posts was about Family Fun Nights. Lori gave a shout out to me because she originally saw the idea on my blog. ( thanks) :)  I wish I could give credit to who I got the idea from, but I honestly can't remember where I found it.

When Micah first came home from Ethiopia it was great because it was a safe way for him to experience a little American pop culture while bonding with us, but we were at home so he didn't feel overwhelmed by the craziness of what is America to one of her newest citizens.

Now that he has been here three years ( what?? that is crazy how fast it has went by) and is getting ready to turn 14, I am finding myself tweaking FFN a little bit.  For one,  I have almost 4 teenagers (Essie will be 13 in September) and 2 of my teens are boys.  So dressing up in costumes and doing anything remotely crafty is generally met with disgruntlement.

The first time I brought FFN back after a few months off was Halloween last year. You can read about what we did here. It was a hit so we did a few more over the winter, but took a break with spring and summer craziness around here.

The plan is to bring it back in August and do one a month until December.  January and February last year had 1 (ONE!!) day that we were all home together  ( in 2 months!!)  because I had 3 kids playing basketball and it pretty much became our life, so I may take another break, but we will see...... Sarah Faith is old enough to join in now, so that will throw in a whole new dynamic.

I've listed a couple tips about FFN with teens, because I think that it is SO important that our teens spend time with the family. They are busy with school, sports, jobs  and friends, but I am only to aware of how soon college is coming and they will no longer be home.  I want to create some special memories for them to take with them to college and to want to come back home to visit as much as possible.

1. Make it about the food. Food is the love language of teens. They may not want their food to be themed but I promise.....If you make it, they will come. :)

2. Movie themes are good. They will feel it is safe. Mom isn't going to make us play games or draw something if we are watching a movie.

3. Let the artsy side of the night ( and your artsy kids) concentrate on table decorations and settings. Essie LOVES FFN and would have one weekly, so I let her imagination run wild in setting the centerpiece and name cards, placements etc. It sets the mood for the night and my boys don't have to glue or paint anything. Win. Win.

4. Don't announce it. Let it be a surprise when they come to the table. That way they can't think up an excuse not to come. Or mock you for dressing up like a circus performer. Not that I would know.

5. Don't get offended. Teens can be weird. (and I have really gracious, good hearted, kind teens) , but the kid that thought NewYears Eve bags were brilliant may not be in the mood for Clue on game night. Just roll with it and don't force fun. More than likely if their siblings are having a good time, they will eventually decide to join in too.

Hope that helps and if you have kids, and you decide to do a FFN, let me know how it goes! Our August FFN is always a back to school night. I write on slips of paper

1. Appetizer
2. Main dish.
3. Sides
4. Dessert
5. Movie snacks

The kids then draw a slip and they get to choose their favorite for me to cook that night. It isn't always a meal I would pair together and usually there is a lot of cheese and starch involved, but they have fun with it. We will give them their school supplies for the year and maybe a new tee shirt or shorts for school. This year I am going to laminate a verse on a book mark for each one of the them. I am praying over what verse for the year the Lord would give me fore each kid.

I am leaving the table setting up to Essie. She's either going to do a little bit of everyone favorite things or set the table based on our movie for the night, Divergent.

We are then going to watch our movie together and boom. FFN complete. Easy peasy .

And not a charade or glue gun in sight.  :)

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