Creating a “Special Night” for Each Child

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Creating a Special Night for Each Child |

Several months ago, another large family mom mentioned that it was her son’s “Special Night.”  Intrigued, I asked more about it because I have always heard of “special nights” in the context of smaller families who gave each child one night a week, which is totally not feasible in a large family for obvious reasons.  After explaining it to me, I talked it over with Ty and we implemented it immediately.  It has been such a wonderful addition to our family, I wanted to share with you how we do it so you can see just how easy and delightful it can be for your family!
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1.  Choose a night that you are most often home.  For us, that is tonight – Tuesday!

2.  Either start from the oldest or the youngest.  We decided to start with the youngest since they have a harder time waiting, and work our way up.

3.  On Special Night, everyone but the Special Child goes to bed early.  You can either have them actually go to sleep or do what we do and allow them “Rest Time” in their beds with a lamp on for 30 minutes to an hour before having them go to sleep.

4.  The Special Child gets to choose 1 food and 1 drink for their Special Night.  We either pick these up the day before, or daddy picks them up on his way home.

5.  Once everyone is in bed, Special Night begins!  Out comes the food and drink.  Out comes the Special Night plate.  The Special Child gets to choose the night’s activities.  We’ve had UNO games, reading books, playing games on the iPad, listening to music, watching movies, and cooking.  Anything is fair game within reason!

Lia's special night

(The book in the photo is one from my childhood – A Fly Went By.)

Every child is so excited to know their special night is coming up.  We get focused time with each child in a doable large-family friendly way.  It’s been such a blessing!

So, do you do a Special Night with your children?  How do you have it set up?  What kinds of things do you do?

31 Comments on Creating a “Special Night” for Each Child

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31 thoughts on “Creating a “Special Night” for Each Child

  1. I did this the last time DH was deployed. At the time we had 6, so each child had one night a week, then I had a “mommy night”. It really helped to make sure I was spending the time with each child that they needed, & gave us an opportunity to talk through what feelings or issues the deployment presented to each child.
    DH & I have really been looking for a way to increase our one on one time with each of our children. I had completely forgotten about having a “special night” with them. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. This is a great idea! I sent this post to my husband and think it will be a well needed addition to our family times. Our 3rd child needs some extra encouragement right now and I think this will certainly help her too.

  3. Reading this has made me realized that we really should start having our special night with the kids again. I guess we stopped because baby #8 made nights VERY difficult. We did it the same as you, special treat and they got to choose what we did. It is a sacrifice though, as it makes your day longer, but in a large family that’s really the only time they get alone with mom and dad. :)

  4. We do something similar. We use the number of their birthdate and they get to stay up late that night for about 30 minutes. They get to choose something special to do with Dad and Mom. So far we’ve only done this with the 3 oldest, but I’m sure the 3 year old will soon be added to the rotation. We try to do this every month, but if your birthdate number falls on a Saturday we don’t do it that month. We want everyone to have a good night’s rest before church on Sunday.

  5. I have one child and we have movie night once a month…Redbox, candy & popcorn. (I’m not sure who looks forward to ‘couch time’ more, me or him!) While I only have one son, it is too easy to get caught up in everyday life and this night allows us both to stop and just enjoy each other. Thank you for the reminder – we haven’t had our June movie night yet!

  6. I do “Mommy dates”, where I go in order of whose turn it is, and I arrange for someone to watch the other kids while I go out for an afternoon or an evening…or even just take them to the store with me all by themselves and we get a treat while we’re out….but special alone time with just Mommy. They love it.

  7. I love this Amy!! I have 4 kids and I’ve always tried to figure out a way to do this without having to go somewhere, which is just about impossible right now! Going to start this week! Thanks!

  8. We have 3 boys, and we do “dates,” where one parent takes one of the boys out. Just recently I took one of my sons to the bookstore, and we sat in the adjacent coffee shop and drank hot chocolate and played a card game. This particular bookstore has a child’s section with a train table and trains to play with; it’s definitely a favorite!

    Another “date” that’s really fun is taking one of my boys with me when I go for a long walk; he rides his bike while I walk. It’s fun, free, and we get some exercise and time together.

  9. I love love love this! I’ve heard about having special time with each child in a large family, but couldn’t figure out how you would do it with a lot of kiddos. This sounds like a great way

  10. I love the idea of having a scheduled night. For us it has not been scheduled but we do have special nights with our oldest, she is 6. Whenever she asks, my husband and I make it a point to say yes. We know she needs that extra special time with us because the 2 little ones require alot of my attention through out the day and papa is usually at work. She will lay down while I put the younger ones to bed and then we “sneak” out of the room :) she loves that part, she’s always giggling. Most of the time she just wants to color but another favorite is “Go Fish.” I like the special food and drink idea!

  11. Oh I just LOVE this idea. We don’t have a large family YET (working on that!) but this seems like such a great thing to start. I can already tell how important attention on each child can be with our 3 and 1 year olds. Just taking only one of them to the grocery store is a special ‘date’ with Mama. I’m thinking for now, I better get an unbreakable “special plate!” I’m sharing this with our readers as well!

  12. Amy, I have been thinking about this exact thing in recent weeks. I had a challenging adolescence, and have been seeking from God what I can learn from my parents, what I can maybe do differently. In reading a parenting book about positive discipline, I realized I had had NO one-on-one time with my parents growing up. I definitely am trying to do this with my little one, and hope to continue. A friend uses the one-on-one car drive: Papa regularly invites one child at a time for a drive. The private time, the soothing monotony of the car helps create an atmosphere that invites sharing.

  13. I go out one night a week with a child. Everyone else stays home with dad, eats dinner, and has fun with him. Generally, the two of us combine eating out together with running errands, and something just fun. Often, we go to the library which the older ones enjoy. They have board games there we play sometimes. We’ll eat out and have a special treat, and make errand time fun. Sometimes we go to the park. Yes, I’m multi-tasking fun time. But still, it works. We have good talks throughout and everyone enjoys the evening.

  14. Yep! We’ve been implementing this since 2007. It’s been such a gift to our family and to our kids! They look forward to it all week long and while sometimes we get ino sep conversation, oftentimes, it’s just playing a game and watching a movie or just hanging . We absolutely love it!

  15. We do a different twist on this.

    We’ve done this for the past…..15 years. We have family dinner nights. We rotate who’s night it is (we also go from youngest to oldest).

    Whoever’s night it is gets to pick what they want for dinner (for all of us), what they wan to do or watch (board game, movie, etc), what they want for dessert, etc.

    We went from having 6 people to rotate through to now just having 4.

    Love the time together!!!

  16. Love this idea! We don’t do anything like it currently. I try to make sure I spend at least a little time with each child one on one regularly, but love the idea of doing it with both parents! What wonderful memories you’re creating. :)