It’s called “Restaurant Night.” The Big Girl suggested it a few weeks ago, and we’ve done it twice, and it was a huge hit.
Our Restaurant Night in Saturday; in New York City, at least among the people I know, adults make nighttime plans during the week, and spend the weekend evenings with their family. This seemed odd to me at first; in Kansas City, adults mostly go out on Fridays and Saturdays.
So from now on, every Saturday night, we figure out what kind of “restaurant” we will be. For our first restaurant – Italian – the Big Man and the girls made pizza. We set the table properly (somewhat unusual for us). I got out a few votive candles — candles go a long way to establishing a “restaurant” atmosphere — and some red and white checked tin trays that have an Italian feel. The Big Girl made a menu and decorated a blackboard sign with the restaurant name, “La Nina.” The Little Girl and I stayed in character as customers for the whole evening, while the Big Man acted as customer/chef and the Big Girl was waitress/customer. We even changed our clothes to dress up (the Little Girl chose to wear a princess costume).
The second Restaurant Night had a Mexican theme: the restaurant was “Hola,” serving salmon tacos.
There were several aspects of Restaurant Night that make it a success.
First, it’s a fun and easy tradition, and traditions enrich family life tremendously.
Second, the game makes it easier to enforce good manners and helpful table courtesy. The Big Girl as Waitress was happy to jump up and fill people’s water glasses.
Third, it gives shape to the day. We pick a theme, we pick a specialty food to cook, we pick a few appropriate decorations. That was all it took to make dinner into a MAJOR source of fun for everyone.
Have you found any easy ways to make ordinary activities more fun for your family?
I always enjoy stopping by Ben Casnocha‘s blog. He has an interesting point of view and links to lots of thought-provoking material.
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