When you are a parent, the term "TGIF" takes on a whole new meaning. In your pre-kid days, Friday nights were likely spent out on the town with friends. After all, back then you could sleep in on Saturday mornings.
Once kids enter the picture, Friday nights are less about late-night parties and more about end-of-the-week exhaustion. By the time Friday evening rolls around, most families are ready for a break from the busy weekday routine.
Jen Dixon, a Chicago mom of two, instituted "family nights" on Friday evenings and it has become a treasured weekly ritual.
"When we announced that we were going to be devoting Friday nights to family time, my girls were thrilled," Dixon says.
Family Friday Nights aren't just a good idea for kids-all members of the family will have fun.
"This time allows me to be 100 percent present for my girls," Dixon says. "I love the funny stories they tell about their week and I've also re-learned how to play many of the childhood games I loved. I look forward to it as much as they do."
Sometimes take-out pizza and any old movie will do when it comes to Family Friday Nights. However, if you are in the mood to create a themed night of food and activities, click through the recipe and activity suggestions below to inspire your planning.
Kick off your "backwards" Family Friday Night by climbing into
pajamas, brushing teeth and getting ready for bed. Then, let the
backwards fun begin by unleashing some unexpected surprises on your
What to eat: Surprise your kids by serving "dessert" for dinner. Dig out your muffin tin and create meatloaf "cupcakes" with mashed potato "frosting."
What to do: Mix things up with fun and unexpected new takes on classic games. For example, instead of playing charades, play "reverse charades" where the entire team acts out as many words as they can in 60 seconds while one person guesses. Put a similar spin on other favorites such as hide-and-go seek (one person hides and everyone else seeks) or pin the donkey on the tail. Write your names backwards on nametags and see who can make it the whole night without slipping up and using someone's real name. Pass out coloring pages and instruct everyone to color only outside the lines-using their feet instead of their hands. Write "secret codes" and decipher them by holding up to a mirror. Don't be afraid to get silly!