note from Jessica: My lifelong friend, Kate, does the coolest thing with her family, and I just knew she had to share it! Thank you to Kate and Graham – for putting words to it, and for being a tangible example of creative, purposeful parenting!
Have You Celebrated Your Family?
Think of all of the celebrations in our lives: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays: Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…Of course these are great things to celebrate.
But there’s one thing we don’t celebrate: the family!
As fun as all those holidays are, most of the time in all the busy-ness, there’s not a whole lot of actually celebrating our families. Right?
We’re always scheming here in the Clark household – always looking to formalize something. So when our oldest child was just six months old, we were still young enough to try something seemingly silly, and the idea of “Clark Family Day” was born.
What’s “Clark Family Day”? Glad you asked!
Clark Family Day would be the day we’d celebrate just us. The fact that we’re together, that we love each other, that we have something special between us – in short, that we are a family. And it would be a big deal because we’d make it a big deal. The day can be whatever we want it to be – that’s the beautiful thing about creating your own holiday!
That was six years ago, and we just celebrated our 7th Clark Family Day this April!
Our “Clark Family Day” rules:
- It has to be our whole family and no one outside our family for the entire day. Hey, this is an exclusive, members-only club! (By the way, so is your family!)
- We seek to do at least one new activity that the kids haven’t done before.
- It’s got to be something we will all enjoy. No point in doing it if we’re not going to have fun!
- We plan out the full day including meals and activities in advance so we can enjoy the day.
- We pick the menu as a family so the kids can pick their favorite foods for the day.
- We have a special ceremony :
- Worship to the Lord – after all, He established, has sustained and continues to provide for our family in every way.
- Sing-a-longs – whatever the kids want to sing.
- A talent show – each person does 1-2 talents for the rest of the family of something they have been working on (even the parents!)
- An award time – Mom and Dad give special awards to each kids. Brace yourself for the creative names: we call these the Mommy® and Daddy® awards! We put them on nice card stock for each kid. These are the qualities and accomplishments we admire in our children and want to continue to nurture in them.
- We end the day with a special dessert – ice cream sundaes or something they’d get excited about. Put a cherry on top of the day – literally and/or figuratively!
- We also have a standard questionnaire that we fill out about each kid during the day – things like how tall they are, several of their favorites (e.g., movies, games) their interests and hobbies at the time, quotes, etc.
Over time, we’ve learned a few things…
- Set aside some money. This is a celebration, so budget for it and do some cool activities. If it’s going to be special, make it special: don’t cheap out!
- Prepare the kids. They get really excited (at least now while they’re young!) about getting to spend a whole day having fun together. They love preparing for their talent portions. And they especially love planning out the menu.
- Do it during the week. We used to do it on the weekend, but find it has been worth it to us to take a day off. You’re less likely to fight crowds or encounter other conflicts that might inhibit your time together or cause you to have to reschedule.
- Use every minute to make memories. If your activities require some car time, prepare some fun games or activities that are interactive rather than watching TV. Car rides are a good time to work on the questionnaires.
Want a few practical ideas of what to do on “Family Day”? We’ve done:
- Hiking a mountain
- Science Center
- Transportation Museum
- Animal Ranch
- Fun local park
- Future ideas I have (some of these would be better when they’re in the teenage years): planetariums, aquariums, amusement parks, camping, bowling, miniature golfing, ski trip, tubing or jet skiing on the lake, 4-wheeling, go-karting…
And here’s a sample schedule of our day:
7:45 am – 8:15 am: Breakfast (breakfast casserole, fruit salad, OJ, cinnamon rolls)
8:15 am – 9:00 am: Travel to Hike Location (questionnaires in car)
9:00 am – 12:00 pm: Hike Mountain
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm: Picnic Lunch at Bottom of Mountain
12:45pm-1:30 pm: Travel Home
1:30pm-2:45pm: Naps, Games, Snacks
2:45 pm-3:45pm: Family Day Program with Talent Show (sample talents include: climbing a tree, reading a book, singing, “Do you want to build a snowman?” and counting to 30, piano song (Mommy) and doing 15 burpees in a minute (Daddy).
3:50 pm-4:05pm: Travel to Theater
4:15 pm – 6:00 pm: Watch Zootopia
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Eat dinner at Jason’s Deli
7:15-8:15 pm: Ice Cream Sundaes and games
8:15 pm – 8:30 pm: Night-time routine
8:30 pm – 10:00 pm: Parents-Only activities TBD
All of us really look forward to “Clark Family Day”! We hope you’ll consider using some of these ideas to celebrate the family God has given YOU! Feel free to comment below if you have questions and we can help you!
from Jessica: Thanks for sharing, Katie and Graham! I am so impressed with the day they plan for their family, aren’t you? We may not all cram as much into our “family day” as they can 🙂 but what a great concept to model! Better late than never – Katie has inspired me and we will have our first ever Smartt Family Day this year. 🙂
Anyone else celebrate a Family Day? What have you done?
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