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Spend quality time with the ones you love and create happy memories that will last you a lifetime. Learn about why it's important to make family date night part of your routine.
Couples are often reminded they need to continue to date their partners long after they're married and possibly have kids. It's important to continue to connect on a romantic level and do exciting things together, not just crash on the couch at the end of the workday.
The same concept can be applied to families. We all get so swept up in work, school and, in particular, technology, that sometimes families manage to live under the same roof but spend very little quality time together.
That's where family date night comes in. Just like continuing to date your partner, it can be beneficial for your family's relationship as a whole to set aside a dedicated time once per week or biweekly to do something together.
"Spending quality time is an important way to tell our family that we love them, that of all the things we could be doing and all the people we could be doing them with, we are choosing to be with them," says Marion Goertz, a registered marriage and family therapist based in Toronto. She says really listening to your children, talking to them and getting to know them "provides a positive impact on the neuroscience of their brains that video games and online activities can't replicate."
Family date nights are good for your spirit and your brain: "The learning and loving goes both ways! Children generally have new and creative ways to respond to the world around them, whereas adults can easily forget how to play, how to be silly and how to ask questions about the, ‘why or why not' of things," says Goertz.
The best family date nights will accommodate all the ages, stages and mental and physical interests and capabilities of each family member in your home. Don't alienate one family member or choose an activity somebody dreads – the point is to all have fun together.
When you're devising how you'll spend your family date nights, get input from the whole family. Take turns coming up with suggestions, keep tabs on seasonal or special events in your area or try to come up with something completely new everyone would like to try. "Remember that kids are all about sampling," says Goertz. "It's wisest to try before you buy and enjoy the experience of trying out a number of different things."