Family Floor Night

kids on the floor

It’s Friday afternoon, and even a casual glance will tell something’s up in the Osgood home.

About once a month this happens, and that’s a good thing, because any more would be exhausting. Our home, especially our living room, gets transformed into something special.

We call it Family Floor Night.

Around the House

In the kitchen, several cheap frozen pizzas are ready to go into the oven, one for each of us. Bowls of veggie snacks — carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, olives, and Satan sticks (you might call it celery, but my name is more accurate)— and fruits for deserts are prepared and put in the fridge. Plenty of sweet tea is made; even kids get sugar and caffeine tonight, and sweet tea is just how we roll in the South.

There will be no distractions tonight. If the world burns to ashes while we’re disconnected, then we’ll just have to find out the old-fashioned way by burning alive.

In the office, computers are shut down and phones are turned off and plugged in to recharge. Land line phones are unplugged, and unless we’ll need it, the wireless router is even unwired. There will be no distractions tonight. If the world burns to ashes while we’re disconnected, then we’ll just have to find out the old-fashioned way by burning alive. This step, by the way, is mandatory.

In the bathrooms, parents, kids, and even occasionally some guests take turns in the shower or bath, brush their teeth, and change into something relaxed, casual, and intimate. For me, that’s a pair of pajama pants. For my wife, it’s often a tank top and underwear. For the kids, it might be anything from the full pajama treatment (undoubtedly featuring Spiderman for one boy) to just some underwear (also featuring Spiderman, actually). Whatever we wear, we come out clean and comfy.

In the living room, the transition begins with phase one. Small, mobile furniture is moved out of the room entirely. No coffee tables, no ottomans, and so on. Tonight, that stuff will sleep in the master bedroom. The sofa, recliner, and so on is pushed up against the wall, often blocking a doorway. It may be a fire hazard, but that’s fine. If Darwin’s right, we’ll be smart enough to use another door if needed. Anything else that can move is moved, giving us as much floor space as possible. Then, all cushions, pillows, and blankets from the furniture is thrown into the floor.

In the bedrooms, parents and children alike collect blankets, pillows, stuffed animals (or stuffed viruses) and other similarly cushy items and throw them all into the living room floor. Items needed for sleep are collected (retainers and the like), and alarm clocks are turned off. Then, finally, the bedroom doors are closed, sealed for the night.

Phase Two: The Pallet

Then, everyone converges on Mount St. Cushions (or the massive pile of soft nonsense we’ve assembled), and we proceed to make the world’s most humongous pallet (among other pallets made that night using things from our house).

For the most part, blankets are spread across the cushions, smoothing out seams. Covering up with a lot of blankets could get pretty toasty by the end of the night. Body heat will keep us all warm. But we’ll each keep a small something to cover up with if we get cool before bedtime.

Fun on the Floor

Once phase two is finished, we eat some pizza while we talk about the agenda for the night.

Sometimes they’ll involve games, like card games, or Monopoly, or charades. Sometimes, it’ll be Twister, which is particularly tricky on the uneven pallet. And sometimes we’ll even rotate out playing video games.

Maybe one of us brought a surprise, like a card trick we learned, or a story we wrote, or a song we’ve been practicing. Maybe it’s a couple huge bowls of popcorn and a movie double feature. Maybe we’ll crank up some music and perform the silliest dance we can think of, and hold up cards to score each other, then all jam out together.

We’ll take turns talking about things we’re learning at school and church, or what Mom and Dad are doing at work (as much as the kids can understand, that is), and what’s new in our social circles (Mom and Dad take the lead here to encourage our kids to speak freely about their social influences).

We listen, we love, and we pray.

There’s no set bed time, but eventually we’ll cut the lights and crash. We’ll snuggle all night, and when we wake, we’ll watch some cartoons in the floor while we eat breakfast.

Great Value

Family Floor Night is awkward, inconvenient, and often sweaty (at least for warm-blooded creatures like me). But it’s beautiful, fun, and totally worth it.

It’s a chance for us to all reconnect consistently and regularly, making memories and sharing love in an intimate way, to touch each other socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We take time away from all the distractions that don’t truly matter to invest time in what truly does matter.

Family Floor Night is awkward, inconvenient, and often sweaty. But it’s beautiful, fun, and totally worth it.

Family Floor Night can have a lot of effects as it’s coming up. It can be something to look forward to, to anticipate, to be anxious about, and sometimes to dread. It’s not always easy; it requires intentionality. At times, we adults feel like there’s a million more important things to do.

But as part of a broader parental intentionality, this one thing helps keep us connected by more than a common mailing address.

And it helps us as the leaders of the house keep a finger on the pulse of our family.

Originally posted 2015-04-24 08:00:43.

Photo credit: Melissa Hillier / Foter / CC BY
About Phil (250 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.