Evening Activities that Allow for More Family Time

Family time is just as important during weekday evenings as over weekends.  So what is the nature of your family time?

Does it just consist of “suicide hour” when both parents and children are tired, hungry and irritable? This is a time often when parents and children lack the inner resources to deal with the tasks at hand: making supper, bath time, tidying up, helping with homework, etc. Or do you consciously focus on minimising the tension? It is our role as conscious parents to shift the “suicide hour” to a positive experience.

It is important to find ways to bond with our children during the week and not only over weekends. These times create a safe space for our children to be themselves and for us to be truly in touch with their lives. This will make it easier for them to talk to us about challenges they face as time goes on.

Activities that create memorable family time

The first thing for us as parents is to be mindful of how we can bring greater calmness to our evenings. How we as parents deal with our evenings sets the tone for showing our children how we cope when under stress. So take care to create happy family time during the week.

Preschool children:

  • Put on quiet or happy music.
  • Make a game of tidying up: see how quickly it can be done. Have a toy box and laundry basket that will make this easier.
  • Sit on the floor with them and let them chose the activity e.g. drawing, playing with toys, building something, drawing.
  • Have a bed time ritual e.g. massaging your child’s feet, doing a relaxing visualisation exercise with them.

School going children:

  • Involve them in the food preparation e.g. cutting up vegetables.
  • Mom’s often use bath time as time to hear the Highs and Lows of a child’s day. Avoid getting into “preaching or fix-ing” mode. Just listen and absorb.
  • Eat around a table and keep the conversation on light and neutral topics. e.g. what funny things happened that day.
  • After supper and once the children have been bathed, work on a puzzle, let them read to you, page through interesting books, let them draw, go for a walk around the garden. These activities need to be quieter activities so that the children are not too hyped up to fall asleep.
  • At this age children like to learn “how to” do things. So any activity where you are teaching them a skill will be a happy bonding experience.
  • Share small moments e.g. when a child calls you to show you something in the garden or in a book, etc. go and look. If we get so caught up in the practicalities of daily living, our children will stop highlighting these. The result is that we will miss a moment to bond and acknowledge what is important to them.


Teenagers prefer to spend more time alone in their rooms.

  • A way around this is to involve them in some project e.g. doing wood work, making something for the garden, house or themselves.
  • Go into their room and chat about what music is trending in their group. Listen to it with them.
  • Take an interest in their hobbies or what they feel passionate about. e.g. dancing, fashion, motorcycles, the opposite sex. Read up a bit about these and chat to them about it.
  • Exercise with them e.g. jogging, cycling, going to the gym.
  • Get involved in a hobby of theirs e.g. golf, tennis, fishing, playing an instrument, photography.
  • Prepare an easy meal together. This teaches them a crucial life skill.
  • Balance respecting their need for privacy but staying connected to them.

Family time leaves lasting marks on our children’s lives. These are the times that shape them and teach them how to cope in life. So what mark is your family time leaving?

If you feel you are allowing your stresses to spill over to your family, you would find some family counselling beneficial.


Posted in Family.