Weekends are never as long as we’d like; small, isolated pockets of time off in a vast ocean of school, work and other obligations. And many families think of these pockets as family time, precious days when the family can be together, children spending time with their parents and everyone enjoying the company of the people they love the most.
But it can all be swallowed up so easily in do-it-yourself projects, family food shopping, and housework. How do you maximise your family time while still getting everything done that you need to complete?
One way to achieve a more carefree weekend is by cramming as many chores as you can into the weekday evenings, and of course it’s a logical choice. But if you do this, you may well find yourself so overworked by Friday night that your weekend will be spent hanging about like a limp dish towel instead of playing with your children or having fun with your darling.
Keep it small, keep it doable, and reduce your workload to something you can manage over the long term. Sacrifice a weekend to do as much work as you possibly can. Repainting the house? Buckle down and do it over a horrible, sleepless weekend and free yourself up again.
Shopping can be done on a Friday evening; major supermarkets are open quite late in the evening, and you can get everything packed away. Saturday morning is what passes for a lie-in – depending on whether you have children and how old they are, you may even get to sleep past your usual alarm clock, so taking a couple of hours out to do the weekly shop on a Friday night is no great loss.
Don’t just sit in the house, even if you’re skint. It’s simply too tempting to tidy up a messy room, bury yourself in work or end up watching DVD after DVD until the entire weekend has gone by in a blur of end credits and adventures. If you just go to the park or a local museum with free admission, you’re doing a great thing because you’re removing everyone from the same boring old surroundings. In an ideal world, of course, you can take them to miniature golf courses, small attractions like the Trafford Centre’s minor take on Lego Land, or similar activities.
Take some time, during the weekend, to get on your children’s levels, too. Play their games, and have the conversations they want to have. A game of Monopoly with a small child may sound like a bad idea, but if you let them move the markers and involve them in the game it can make them feel amazingly important and lets them understand that they’re truly part of the family.
Weekends are a valuable time to reconnect with the people closest to you. Don’t throw them away any longer; make the most of every moment.