Gone are the days when I would play soothing lullabies for my girls to settle them down for the evening; I now play artists we all enjoy and can vibe to. I sometime allow the girls to play music from their favorite artists as well; it gets them talking and I love to have dialogue with my kids; it's a great way to spend quality time; to find out what they are thinking. It usually is a win win situation. We also read together, especially after dinner but not necessarily at bedtime. We read poetry, geography books and chapter books to name a few. In fact we just finished a book titled "Cousins" by Virginia Hamilton. We really enjoyed the suspense of what was happening in the story, sharing our thoughts together and talking about the conclusion of the book. Books usually prompt questions and this is yet another way to utilize the opportunity for dialogue together. Some children may not be into books as much and that is okay; children can be met where they are and their likes and dislikes taken into consideration.
Towards the weekend, we have "movie nights" or "game nights" together and it's a great way to bring in the end of the week with something fun for us to do. Of course, kids will be kids and even the best intentions for "chill" time can fall by the wayside. What is most important is to realize that even older children need down time. Adults need down time, we all need down time.