Weekends are supposed to be a time to relax and have fun. However, those traditional days of rest are actually filled with pressure to catch up for many parents.
If you spend Monday through Friday at the office while your children go to daycare, you probably feel like you need to reconnect. On top of that, you may be wondering how to fit in all the chores you were unable to squeeze in during the week.
You might think that cutting back on work would help, but the evidence suggests otherwise. One study by Pennsylvania State University found that both men and women experience more stress at home than at work.
How can you cope with busy weekends and return to work feeling refreshed?
Try these suggestions for parents who are looking for ways to make their weekends less stressful.
Spending More Time with Your Kids
- Plan ahead. Are you tired of Sunday night surprises? Talk with your kids on Fridays to find out when book reports are due or how many cupcakes they need to bring in for the school fundraiser. You can also get a head start on planning menus and outfits for the week.
- Gamify tasks. Have fun while you’re taking care of business. Give your kids stickers for cleaning their room. Stop for ice cream after the car wash.
- Share interests. Find activities you both enjoy doing. Sign up for parent and child yoga classes or swimming lessons.
- Eat together. If it’s difficult to coordinate schedules during the week, ensure that you share as many meals as possible on weekends. Cook a nutritious dinner together at home and go out to your favorite restaurant for a special brunch.
- Encourage conversation. Work on your communications. Listen closely to what your children have to say. Talk about deep subjects while you’re driving to soccer practice.
- Take outings. Use the extra hours on weekends to create lasting memories. Let your children choose whether to visit a museum or hike up a mountain. Spend time together as a family and one on one.
- Lighten up. Many studies show that having a positive emotional connection with your child is more important than being by their side around the clock. Focus on the quality of your hours together instead of feeling guilty when you’re apart.
Taking Care of Household Responsibilities
- Clean as you go. Taking care of messes immediately and cleaning a little each day will leave with you less to do on weekends. Just 15 minutes a day may be enough to keep your home presentable in between deeper cleanings.
- Eliminate clutter. Donate or sell items you rarely use. Housekeeping is much easier when you limit your possessions to the essentials.
- Reduce consumption. Keep clutter from developing by limiting your shopping. Ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it. Figure in the costs of maintaining and repairing it.
- Coordinate activities. Be strategic about doctor appointments and extracurricular activities. Try to accomplish errands with fewer trips and less miles. Batch similar tasks together like doing your laundry while you dust the living room.
- Cut back. Set priorities and say goodbye to old routines that add little value. You may decide to skip daily ironing or eat leftovers each Monday instead of cooking.
- Pull together. Ask each family member to do their part to make weekends easier. Split up chores with your partners and children. Rotate jobs or pick the ones that you like most.
You can look forward to Fridays when you plan ahead and set realistic expectations. Take the stress out of your weekends so you and your family can enjoy more peace and happiness each day.