family winter funMany families would like 2017 to be the year they grow closer and ensure that their children embrace their values.

Planning such evenings is the focus of Albrecht’s new book, FHEasy: A Year of Weekly Teachings and Devotionals (Cedar Fort Publishing). Albrecht, whose daughters are 10, 7 and 4, suggests kicking off this new tradition by gathering the family once a week—such as on Sundays—to  choose the week’s topic and then leading a short lesson and discussion on it. Afterward, play a game, dance, watch a short video or share any other enjoyable family activity to promote bonding.

For the rest of the week, she advises having a short daily follow-up discussion, reading a relevant quote, scripture verse, or scripture story; this can be done at breakfast, dinner or before bed. Families may also want to pray together before meals or before the youngest child goes to bed.

To make planning easier, Albrecht suggests

  • Choosing a go-to resource for lessons and activities. In addition to her own book, she recommends Aesop’s Fables and The Children’s Book of Virtues.
  • Mentally preparing yourself to have a good time with your family by blocking out all other obligations from your mind and unplugging from technology (TV, phones, etc.).
  • Having a box full of favorite family activities that’s always handy. Depending on the ages of children in your house, you could have toy cars, bubbles, microwave popcorn, joke books, a soccer ball, art supplies … whatever your family would enjoy doing together.

The key to successful family evenings, she says, is consistency, and knowing that sometimes children will fight with each other and be less cooperative than you might like. “On those days, remember, next week will be better,” she says.

About Tina Albrecht

Tina Albrecht is the author of FHEasy: A Year of Weekly Teachings and Devotionals, published by Cedar Fort Publishing. FHEasy refers to family home evenings, a religious home teaching/bonding concept practiced by LDS families like Albrecht’s. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in linguistics and a master’s certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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