“Give your sister’s princess crown back to her right now.”
“I’m not going to tell you again. Don’t touch your brother’s Kindle.”
“Stop running in the house. You’ll get hurt and break something.”
“No more video games. That’s enough for today.”
“No, it’s too cold to go out. Find something to play inside.”
Do similar words echo in your home during indoor winter playtime? They sound familiar to me.
Do the children’s bottled-up energy and your frayed patience sometimes threaten to boil over like a full pot of pasta? Are you dreading the long dark hours of winter?
If so, is your family suffering from the Cold Weather-COVID Blues?
What’s a parent to do? For starters, may I suggest you choose one of the two recipes below?
Recipe Choice 1: Cold Weather-COVID Blues Goulash
- 1 cup of cold, dreary weather.
- 1 cup of pent-up juvenile energy.
- 1 cup of parental fatigue.
- 1 cup of COVID restrictions that hinder birthday parties, church events, and visits to bowling alleys, libraries, and museums.
- Combine ingredients and stir in a dollop of false guilt about parenting skills.
- Bake in the heat of short tempers and angry words until tears and red faces appear.
- Garnish with whining voices, exasperated sighs, and pouting faces.
Yield: one batch of cranky kiddos and even crankier parents (with a side of exhaustion).
Recipe Choice 2: Family Fun Night Delight
- First four ingredients from Recipe One—they cannot be substituted but can be marinated in prayer. (Ask God for creative ideas.)
- Replace dollop of false guilt with faith in God’s guidance.
- Knead yeast of hope into an adequate amount of Bible study and combine with other ingredients.
- Add generous portions of the fruit of the Spirit, after removing the seeds of impatience, discontentment, and unforgiveness.
NOTE: Additional ingredients add sweetness and overpower the taste of the first four.
- Bake in the warmth of God’s love.
- Garnish with gratitude and laughter, then serve generous portions during Family Fun Night.
Yield: platefuls of laughter and warm memories
For Recipe 2, please consider the following four values of family nights and six theme ideas to try.
FOUR VALUES OF FAMILY FUN NIGHTS
- Family nights provide opportunities for parents to obey God.
God gives parents the privilege and responsibility to teach His truths to children. When we surrender to Christ and seek His ways, we can model Christlike conduct as we learn and play together.
- Time spent together communicates love.
Jesus came to earth with the most critical agenda in history, yet He valued time spent with children (Matthew 19:14).
- Family activities allow opportunities to apply biblical principles.
When siblings participate in games and joint projects, commend demonstration of godly character traits like patience and kindness.
- Regularly scheduled events create memories and build unity.
What joy in later years to see your children walk in God’s ways and to hear them say, “I remember when we …”
With your own value list in mind, adapt the following ideas or create your own plans.
SIX FUN NIGHT THEME IDEAS
- Nacho Night
Let each person create their own nacho dish from these ingredients: browned, lean ground beef or refried beans, shredded lettuce, guacamole, salsa, black beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, olives, tortilla chips
- Music Night
Plan a concert with homemade band instruments or invite a musician to visit. If someone in your home plays the piano or guitar, enjoy a sing-along. (Noise-cancelling headphones are optional.)
- Art or Crafts Night
Work on a joint project or assist with individual creations. Design a winter mural on butcher paper or create cards for residents of nearby nursing or rehab facilities.
- Game or Puzzle Night
Use board games or enjoy activities like “I Spy” or pantomime. Assemble puzzles in teams.
- Storytelling Night
Gather under a blanket-over-the-table tent and tell favorite stories. After bedtime for little ones, read missionary or other biographies that exemplify godly character.
- Surprise Night
Keep the plans a secret and place a theme-related item in a closed box. At dinnertime, play “Twenty Questions” allowing family members to ask twenty yes or no questions about the secret activity.
Would a prescription of Family Fun Nights help cure the Cold Weather-COVID Blues at your house? Please share your family night ideas or tell us which ones in the list above you’d like to try. Happy planning!
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7