Many parents look forward to days-off so we can do activities with our children and perhaps take them to places such as the cinema, bowling, play centres etc. Without realising, we train our children into wanting to go places. They think the weekends are about being active and going out and about all the time. But children also like fun days at home with parents. They too may have had a busy week in school and may appreciate some time to relax. So slow down and keep it simple! Here are tips on spending quality, relaxed time with your children:
- Organise some arts and crafts. Children love sitting at the table for hours with glue and bits of paper, cutting and sticking. For older children, you could make it more elaborate and invest in some craft materials and really enjoy a day of make and do. Set yourself a challenge for the day.
- Why not visit plan a cooking session and help your child learn to cook a dish? This can be really great for children from the age of nine and upwards. For older teens it is so important that they learn to cook and understand the value of good nutrition. Enjoying a meal you prepared together is a lovely way to spend a few hours. Younger children might just enjoy making scones or fairy cakes; everyone can master something in the kitchen.
- Go for a walk near your home. There are lots of parks and, as we live in Ireland, plenty of fields. Children are learning all the time about nature so why not go and look at some in real life, as my young daughter would say. Bring a journal and note down what you see and what you find: leaves, birds, and insects, then Google what you found and make it into a great project.
- Simply just have a pyjama day. Play board games, computer games, watch old movies, play dolls and house or trial makeup. Watch your children play and engage with them. We are so busy all the time, running about and worrying. It is wonderful to have a day of connecting with your children.
- Invite some friends and their children over. We always intend on catching up with old friends but we are on-the-go all the time. So arrange a catch up on your day-off.
- Ask your child what they would like to do. We often plan so many things for our children that we think will be great and then we get annoyed when they don’t seem to value it. Often the simple pleasure of spending time with parents is more important to them.
- For parents sharing parenting, the weekend parent often gets a bad reputation for being the fun time parent as they have all weekend to entertain children. In my experience, they would much prefer to not feel this pressure and to do real parenting instead and keep the entertainment for special occasions.
- Parenting is about spending time with our children, getting to know them, having time to talk with them and time for them to talk with us. Making time and creating opportunities for talking is more possible when activities you introduce to them are simpler.
- In today’s world we need to help children understand that life is not about entertainment and being constantly on-the-go. It is about doing things that help us feel well and happy on the inside, that bring peace and balance to our lives and leave us ready for the next week. Many of the activities lead to moments of mindfulness where children learn to be happy in their own company in quiet ways.
This article is part of our weekly parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.
For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.