Making Meaningful Weekends

Making Meaningful Weekends

The weekends take on new meaning when you have children. That free time is no longer dedicated to sleeping in, lazing around and dining out at trendy local restaurants. Once you have children, your weekends revolve around spending as much time with them as possible (to make up for the time spent away during the workweek, as my mom-guilt would have it).

But weekends with little ones can also be very long (especially once your child stops napping)! If your little ones wake up at the 6 o’clock hour, you’ll probably have exhausted activities like reading books, playing in the Jurassic Period, fighting bad guys as a super hero, building block towers, eating breakfast and coloring all before your childless friends wake up on a Saturday morning! By 9 a.m. you may find yourself wondering what to do with your day. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make the most of your weekend with your children while also maintaining your sanity. So how do you accomplish both goals?

Remember this mantra: less is more. Don’t over-schedule your weekends. It’s OK to say ‘no’ to a birthday party invitation or a volunteer request. The surest way to feel exhausted on Sunday night is to commit to every invite that comes your way and neglect to leave room for relaxation. I try to stick to one event per day. If you have a playdate planned for Saturday morning, save the trip to the jump house for another day. Your children can’t benefit from your time if you’re constantly looking at your watch to make sure you don’t miss the next activity.

Which leads me to my next tip for weekend fun: unplug! Leave your phone at home, or at the very least, in your purse, so that you can be present when spending time with your children. I am often guilty of this myself and find I’m easily distracted if my phone is out. I’m not sure what I’m afraid I’ll miss if I don’t check in on social media and my email regularly, but I do know I’ll miss spending time with my boys if I don’t quit this bad habit sooner rather than later!

If you find that your little ones are restless on the weekends, you might take them to check out the local museums and attractions in your town. Many zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and museums have season passes that pay for themselves after just a few visits – and if you have a season pass, you won’t feel like you have to explore the entire attraction each visit (we’ve been known to visit the zoo just to say hello to the flamingos and chimpanzees)! Do a little digging online to see if your city has any kid-friendly activities that aren’t well known. Just last year, we were invited to a birthday party at a great train museum in Atlanta that we didn’t know existed and my oldest son loved it! Given his love of Thomas the Train at the time, I wish that I had found the museum sooner. The internet can be a great resource for helping to find a museum or activity to help you explore your child’s interests even deeper.

My last tip for creating a meaningful weekend is this: don’t be afraid to just stay home with your children all day and play. Put on some music and a feather boa and throw a dance party. Build a fort out of blankets and pretend to be pirates. Stay in your pajamas all day, read books or watch a movie together, and eat breakfast for dinner. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing as long as you’re doing it together. If you’re feeling exhausted from the week and don’t have the energy to plan activities one weekend, playdates are a great option (go ahead, invite your best friend and her kids to your fairy princess tea party)! You will still get to spend time with your little ones while sharing the home entertainment responsibilities with another parent so you don’t have to do all the planning yourself. All your children care about is spending time with you, and that time is the best gift you can give them.

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