What happens when the weekend goes free form

photo-96The weather has definitely turned colder these last few weeks. Here in suburban Philadelphia, it also gets dark around 5 p.m. It’s tempting to hibernate indoors on weekends, particularly if we’re coming off busy days, but this past Sunday afternoon was a reminder of what happens when we attempt that with a 6-year-old, 4-year-old, and 2-year-old.

It certainly wasn’t a bad weekend, and it wasn’t even a particularly low-key weekend.  On Saturday, I got up and took my 4-year-old to his swim lesson at the Y, and braved the treadmill after 2 weeks off running. It felt good! After lunch, we went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, and saw the hippos, the sharks, etc. We drove back over the Ben Franklin Bridge to the Philadelphia waterfront, and went to the Seaport museum. The rest of my family went through the submarine (I hate small enclosed spaces) and then we went out for dinner at Jones restaurant. Stephen Starr has found a brilliant niche: a restaurant that’s nice, but has enough kid-friendly food and ambiance that you can bring them too. The place was packed with families and — evidence that they’re nailing their demographic — was much less crowded at 7 p.m. than it was at 5:30. The customers were on their way to bath and bed! We watched the Texas A&M game after (we’d recorded it), and while it didn’t come out the way we wanted at all (oh, Johnny!), drinking beer and watching football isn’t a bad Saturday night activity.    

Sunday morning we all went to the Y again for a grown-up work out and then a family swim. After that, we decided to just let the kids play at the house for the rest of the day. It had been a busy weekend, and a busy week. We all needed to relax, right? Then the 2-year-old refused to nap. There were a few fun minutes when the kids managed to play peaceably. But I got sucked into novel revision, and my husband didn’t really feel like refereeing fights either. So the kids watched a lot of TV. I mean a lot. There was a full Power Rangers binge, plus a movie, plus a few episodes of Peter Rabbit, etc. Occasionally, one of us would attempt to get the kids to play in the basement, but soon someone would decide that the toy some other child was playing with was the only toy in the entire house that would do, and the screaming would commence. TV became the better choice.

That’s all fine for a day, but it’s a reminder that we do better, in general, when we get out of the house in the afternoon, even for a little bit. While staying at home all day is fun as a grown-up who’s there solo, with our particular family dynamic, it doesn’t really work. I wish it did.

Do your kids do OK with staying home all day?

8 thoughts on “What happens when the weekend goes free form

  1. My kids get bored, so while I would love to have low-key unstructured weekends, I think our kids like structure and activities. We are still not great at planning more than 1 thing per weekend but they definitely thrive more when we do different things.

    1. @oilandgarlic – our problem is that the oldest (and most vocal) one never wants to do anything…until he’s doing it. Then he has a fabulous time. But there’s this huge inertia factor to going anywhere. We need to present a united front and present it as a done deal. If we give in and stay home then the fighting starts.

  2. My daughter is only 14 months old, but we’re already finding that she does better (which means we all do better) when we get out of the house at least once per day. This was easier to do when the weather was mild, but feels a bit more daunting with the shorter daylight hours and the colder weather!

  3. This is timely as I just did this today. In fact, at 4pm, the 4yo and I are still in our pajamas (hooray for laziness!).

    I definitely think the day went by slower, which for us was good. Lately we’ve been rushing around to everything, and worried about being late to school, etc.

    But I can’t see doing this for days on end, either 🙂 There was a little TV, but otherwise, pretty mellow and the girls played pretty well together. It definitely served its purpose.

    1. @ARC – good that they played well together! Our boys like to wrestle, and the little girl is probably the most violent one. It’s crazy here!!

  4. They do! Of course we have lots of wide open space indoors so they can get wiggles out when we have cruddy weather. We actually did a bunch of shopping this weekend, as detailed on our post today.

  5. Yeah, I pretty much cannot stand to be home with my kid. No, no, I exaggerate for effect (obviously, I trust), but our house is small, and he is energetic, and it just exhausts me. We go out to play, or swimming, or even to the mall if the weather is bad (going to the mall is not to be confused with going shopping, which we avoid), or walking, or biking. He’s not a great walker, but if it’s a walk-in-the-woods-involving-water (creek or lake to throw rocks into), he does fine.

    At home I do play games with him, or read, or sometimes bake. But he really needs activity every day, and being at home with him for any amount of time knocks me out.

  6. We had a similar weekend (pretty busy Saturday, but nothing on Sunday) and it actually worked out OK for once. The 2-year old DID nap, and both kids watched a movie in the afternoon to break up the day. I think what made it bearable was that I got out—I went to brunch with friends & was out of the house from noon-2:30ish. Also I had a migraine most of the morning and a lingering headache in the evening that makes me extremely low-energy so the low-key day suited my mood in a way it wouldn’t usually.
    I could NOT do two days in a row of that, though. We have already planned some outings for this long weekend so we have SOMETHING each day.

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