With my son being a Senior in High School I often wonder “where has the time gone?” and more importantly I wonder “did I do enough things right and does he know how much I love him”?  I don’t have regrets about my son’s past but my life is filled with regret that he will be leaving home soon and I will have to miss him every day. I am going through this with my 22 year old daughter and it is just hard to take. I want my kids to be little again so we can have all the fun all over again. My son would rather hang out with his friends than with me of course, but I have a few more months to spend some quality time with him and make a few last memories with him before he goes out on his own. I have always called this time with my children “Triple F Time” or “Forced Family Fun” (LOL). Here is a quick post of things that I am going to do with my son and some ideas to use with your own children before it’s too late.

Family Appropriate Fun

Spending time all together as a family is extremely important, no matter how many children you have. Time goes by so quickly, and all the kids will be gone before you know it. When that last child leaves home you don’t want to ask yourself if you spent enough time together as a family. Here are some activities to help you spend quality time together before it is too late:

Make it a Movie Night

Sharing a wonderful night together does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. You even don’t need to leave the house, because some of the best memories can be shared in your very own home. Watching movies at a theater can get expensive, especially for those that have more than one child. Often times, movie theaters are chosen because they have the newest movie playing.

But save some money, break away from the norm and have a movie marathon at home. Watching new releases is not the only way to have a great family movie night. Give your kids a movie education and show  some great movies are not with currently known actors. Movies such as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility”. And for those that enjoy music, “Holiday Inn” and “Dancing in the Rain”. Although they may be viewed as old, these choices can be a great way to break away from the same old story lines. These are some of my favorite movies and I hope that my son will at least find something he can relate to in an “old” movie with mom instead of feigning interest for my sake. Maybe I should go 1980’s old instead and watch “Back to the Future” or we could just stick with Star Wars since we both agree on those films!

Get Out of the House and Paint the Town Red

As children grow older they want to experience the city. This is a great opportunity for a family outing. Going out as a family for a whole evening can be a great experience. Going to a nice restaurant for dinner can be a great way to start off the night. In many towns you can find a variety of different shows to attend. New shows often come into town each month. On a night out with the whole family, look for a comedy show that the whole family can enjoy.  Look online for someone like Jeff Dunham tickets or other performers that put on appropriate shows for the entire family. (He is coming to Illinois this weekend!) The kids will love spending this time with you. This fun and stress-free evening can be just what you need as a family. Even walking around the city before or after is really fun. (It will give us time to talk without distractions and build a better connection as mother and son! – This is the “bean” in Chicago where we live.)

Enjoy the Live Theater Together

The theater is a great place. Children who enjoy singing or acting will love going to a show at a local high school or arts center. Buying tickets for a local show are going to be cheaper then going to a professionally shown production. Not to mention that they are commonly a lot cheaper then your local movie theater. For children who enjoy the arts, there is no greater experience then a live show.

As your children continue to grow up, spending quality time together is important. No matter the activity, what truly matters is that you are doing it together as a family. Remember to keep it as light and stress free as possible. If you seem to fumble over words when talking to your child, movies can be a great way to connect. Watching live shows and discussing them after can give your family a new memory to share. And as your children begin to grow, take them out on the town. Show them your favorite restaurants. And never forget that sharing a new experience together is one of the many joys of being a parent. (We have many theater opportunities in Illinois from local groups to High Schools, to Broadway shows in Chicago! We also have smaller circuses and other live shows that we can pick from. We can also include little brother in many of these!)

I figure that finding one big night out each month before he leaves for college will not only make great memories, but make us closer to each other.