When it comes to doing something fun with the family, most of us would probably have the same response: catch a movie or play a game or go out for dinner. All good ideas but more than likely you’ve done it before. What about something different?
Jo-Anne and Hugh, along with 10-year old son Tye and 7-year old daughter Reese, have taken family fun night to a whole new level.
Craaazy Night emerged a few years ago out of something Jo-Anne’s son Tye said, ‘Mom, it’s Friday night, we can stay up late, eat junk food and act Craaazy!’ On his suggestion, the family let Tye choose what they would do that night, where they would eat dinner and where they would sleep. After great success, Jo-Anne’s daughter Reese wanted a turn planning Craaazy Night and from that moment on Craaazy Night has become a Friday night ritual in their home.
You may be thinking this isn’t any different than catching a movie and heading to dinner with the family. That would be true except for one big difference; the Craaazy Night planners are the kids, no adult input. If you were to ask your kids where they would like to eat or what they would like to do or even where they would like to sleep you might be surprised at their answers.
Try a hockey rink vending machine dinner — eating only items you can get from a vending machine, like gum, jujubes, and chips — or a Chinese takeout picnic in the snow. Afterwards you could get your satin pants on for a night of disco bowling or try backwards night at Chapters, walking in backwards and looking at books from back to front. Then cap off your night sleeping in a fort under the kitchen table or in another family member’s bed. These are just a few of the Craaazy Night antics Jo-Anne’s family has enjoyed. When asked what’s the craziest thing they’ve done, Jo-Anne replied, ‘We don’t have a craziest [night] as all Craaazy Nights have a component that we’ve never done before.’
It seems not just Jo-Anne’s family is enamored with their Friday night fun. According to Jo-Anne, ‘Not much has changed since we started [Craaazy Night], with the exception that our old family night sometimes involves friends and other families who now want to be part of it.’
Want to start a Craaazy Night tradition with your family? Jo-Anne offers these tips:
- Leave it up to the kids. Sometimes it can be hard for us as parents to let go of the reins but the main idea behind the crazy part of Craaazy Night is tapping into your child’s wild imagination and desires.
- Be regular. Don’t let bad weather or a bad day deter you from enjoying Craaazy Night. Even when Jo-Anne’s father-in-law passed away her kids choose to enjoy dinner at his favourite restaurant. ‘It was bitter sweet, but the kids loved it.’
- Go with the flow. Avoid putting restrictions like cost on what your kids plan. If the dinner choice is an expensive restaurant, just order an appetizer or dessert and go.
- Be receptive to new ideas. If your 6-year old son suggests playing Marco Polo in the living room, don’t scoff at his suggestion. The only way Craaazy Night will work is if you give in to it; give in to your inner child. You might just find yourself having more fun than you expected. This holds true for siblings too.
- Rotate. If you have more than one child in the house, come up with a plan for how you determine each child’s involvement: rotate the day so that each child gets a turn at planning Craaazy Night, rotate tasks (dinner, activity, sleep) so each child has one element to plan for that night. This will help to avoid meltdowns and fights during what should be a fun time. You might find, as Jo-Anne did, that you’re kids will enjoy planning Craaazy Night together.
We are all so busy with work and school and an on-going list of extracurricular activities, spending good quality time together as a family can sometimes get lost. Instead of just plopping down on the couch again this Friday, why not get a little crazy and enjoy Craaazy Night! If you do, be sure to come back and comment on what antics your family got up to.