Want to have more fun as a family? Or form deeper connections with your kids? If so, make a “Live List” with your family. A Live List is a small thing that helps create a purposeful, intentional family life that’s full of fun. It’s a great way to strengthen family bonds and have more joy as a family.
What is a Live List?
A Live List is similar to a bucket list but a little different. A bucket list consists of things you want to do sometime in your life before you die. A Live List is a list of things you want to do and ways you want to be in the next 3-4 months. It’s about who you want to be and what you want your life to be like. It’s a list of things that represent how you want to live.
It can contain things you might find on a bucket list, like places to travel and things to do, but it also contains ways to be: be kind, tell the truth, be courageous, learn something new. A Live List is a way to challenge yourself, and your family, with new experiences. You can have a personal live list, with items just for you as an individual, or you can make a family Live List and get the whole family involved.
I was introduced to the Live List while listening to an interview on the Mom Conference with the Live List creator, Kelly E. Jensen. (The Mom Conference is a free online conference that takes place each year around October. It’s awesome. Really. Some of my best mom ideas come from this annual conference.) Kelly Jensen is a super cute mom of 5 who’s had a personal Live List for about 20 years and a family Live List for over 8.
In the interview, she was telling about all the new experiences she’s had because of her personal Live List and how they’ve grown and bonded as a family through their family Live List. I was so inspired by the interview and I had been looking for simple and easy ways to have more fun with my family. I knew I wanted to give the family Live List a try.
How to create a Live List:
Making your own Live List is pretty simple. And lots of fun. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Brainstorm.
Get the whole family together and brainstorm things you want to do and ways you want to live for the next 3-4 months. Every suggestion goes on the brainstorming list. For the brainstorming session, no idea is too big or too small, too absurd or too expensive. Everything goes on the list. Everything is a YES!
Ask each family member for input. Go around in a circle, oldest to youngest, or some other method to make sure that each person contributes to the list. Make sure everyone gets a voice. This also helps you get buy-in. If it’s a list of things your family wants to do, they will be much more willing to participate.
Try to add a variety. Think of some things you want to DO (i.e. go to the park, go on a cruise) as well as some ways you want to BE (do something that scares you, do something nice). Add things that are free as well as any that cost money. Think of things you can do at home, and away. Simple and complex. Consider the season of the year and any upcoming holidays.
Make it fun. Make it low pressure. This is about dreaming. This brainstorming session is an awesome way to see into your child’s heart and learn just what their hopes and dreams are.
Step 2: Refine it.
After you have generated your brainstorming list, narrow it down to 30-40 items. Each family member gets to choose one item on the list that everyone has to participate in – no if’s and’s or but’s. Everything else on the list individual members can veto if they really don’t want to do it. But each person gets to choose one activity that the whole family will participate in together – no veto allowed. (On our list those are designated with a star, and listed at the top.)
After you’ve chosen the “everyone participates” items, take turns choosing several more items from your brainstorming list until you have 30-40 items total. This is where you weed out the “not gonna happen right now” ideas, like buying a zoo and hot air ballooning at the North Pole.
Step 3: Display it.
Take those 30-40 items and write them on a big piece of paper. Or several papers taped together. Make it colorful. For items like “be a good friend”, make a checkbox for each family member so everyone can participate and mark off their own box.
Post it where your family will see it every day. Ours in on our refrigerator door. It’s a daily reminder of how we want to live as a family for the next 3-4 months. It gives us something to strive for as well as something to look forward to.
Step 4: Live it.
Now, go and Live. Some of the items on your list you might need to schedule on your calendar. Some you can just do spur of the moment as time permits. When you have downtime or family time that you’re looking to fill, you will have a list full of options ready to go.
From time to time, check in with how it’s going. Get the family together (dinner or family meetings work great) and ask if anyone has anything they want to cross off the list. Were they a good friend today? Did they do something that scared them this week? It’s hard to push ourselves outside our comfort zones so be sure to celebrate the small wins and successes. Support and cheer each other on!
It’s important for me to say here that it is ABSOLUTELY OK if you don’t do everything on your family Live List. In fact, you probably won’t do everything on the list. But remember, any small step forward is progress. Really, if you even do just one item on your list, consider it successful because have lived with more purpose and intention than you would have without your family Live List.
Ideas for your family Live List:
The best ideas for your Live List are the ones your family will come up with on their own. I’ve been so surprised by the simple things that my kids are dying to do together as a family- like playing UNO, mixing paint, petting a cow or having a cannonball contest. But if you need to get their creative juices flowing, inspiration abounds.
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We made our first family Live List for November-January (pictured above). For most of North America, that means snow and cold. For us, because we were living on a Caribbean island, it meant perfect outdoor temperatures and playtime. None of us had school or work for 3-6 weeks over Christmas break. We had relatives coming to visit from out of town. It was truly a dream situation.
But I know that without our Live List we would have spent those 6 weeks laying around the house watching WAY too much screen time.
- Played UNO, Old Maid, Crazy 8’s, and Slap Jack
- Made Christmas cookies and took them to neighbors
- Pampered ourselves with home facial masks
- Ate gelato
- Swam with stingrays
- Researched when sea turtle eggs hatch
- Shopped for sibling Christmas gifts
- Swam in the pool
- Had a family joke contest at dinner
- Tried a new dessert
- Went sea kayaking
- Visited a new beach
- Built a blanket fort
- Ate pie
- Hosted a Thanksgiving dinner party
- Did something that scared us (Ziplining for me – Eeek!)
- Learned something new
- Ate dinner in the tv room
- Did something kind
- Took scooter rides
- And a whole lot more
We didn’t do everything on our list but we made it through about ⅔ of it. And most of all, we had lots of fun doing it and made some awesome memories. Like watching my 8-year-old zip line, without fear, like nobody’s business. And cannonballing into the swimming pool with my daughters. And when our grandma, grandpa, aunt, and uncle came to visit and we all told our best jokes sitting at the table during dinner time. So funny.
Now we’re working on our second Live List.
Because the season of life we’re in now is school and moving, this list is filled with different things. Some of the things from our first list that we didn’t get done but still want to do, we carried over to this list. And there are new items there as well. As we go throughout our days, when one of the kids mentions something they want to do, we add it to the list. Here are a few things from our current Live List:
- Family pictures on the beach
- Give something away
- Pet a cow
- Try something new
- Play kickball
- Write and film a Barbie movie
- Make progress on a goal
- Potty train our youngest (DONE – Hallelujah!)
- Teach child #4 to swim and read
- Date night with mom for each child
- Make caramel corn
- Visit our favorite beach one more time
Overall this family Live List feels a little less exciting than our first, but the mission is the same:
- Having more fun as a family.
- Being together and connecting as a family.
- And being intentional about who and what we are becoming.
And it is working wonders.
Try this small thing today:
Make your own family Live List and post it where the whole family can see it every day. Start making more intentional, fun, family memories today.
What are some of the things you want to add to your family Live List? Let us know in the comments.
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