Whether you stay at home or are a working parent, we all know the hustle and bustle of evening routines. The kids need help with their homework or need it checked, help prepare for upcoming tests, back-packs need to be packed for the next morning. While assisting the kids, dinner has to be prepared.
Once homework and dinner are finished, there’s clean-up to do, and bath and bedtime routines to start. Finding time to spend together during the busy weeknights can be a struggle.
Twin Cities Kids Club has weeknight ideas for you to implement, so you can find those few moments of precious family time that will fit into your daily routines. Join the club today for access to events and discounts throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Shift your Focus
We have all been there before and have felt that mom-guilt from missing on moments with our children. Whatever your circumstances are, we have all missed out on a moment with our child that we feel like we should have been there to witness.
There are small changes that you can make to ensure that you are not getting swept up in the weeknight routine, and relax and enjoy your weeknights with the kids.
According to Psychology Today, mindfulness cultivates positive emotions. When you pay attention to the things that are happening around you at the present moment, with an openhearted, non-judgmental attitude, it will increase the enjoyment of your daily life.
Go ahead and savor those moments that you spend at the dinner table, helping your child learn their new spelling words. Bask in their excitement when they spell one of the words correctly.
By practicing mindfulness in situations, you can change how you are feeling in a given situation. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything that has to be accomplished before bedtime, take a moment to appreciate that your child’s healthy, happy, and thriving.
Non-stop Bonding is NOT the Goal
It does not take as much quality time as you may think to change your whole week. The best way to make sure that you spend time bonding with your children is to make it a routine. Set aside fifteen minutes in the evening and spend that time one on one with no distractions.
When you schedule these fifteen minutes with your child, try your best not to miss it if something does come up, like an after school curriculum or an appointment. Try to communicate with your child and let them know that you’re going to have to miss that time together, but reschedule it for another day when you have more time.
Find Ways to Reduce Daily Stressors
Find ways to streamline your to-do list. That can be as easy as waking up an hour before the kids and getting a few chores done in the morning. It’s easier to complete these tasks without the kids running around the house. Plan crockpot meals throughout the week for easy dinner times.
Once you take control of your day, you will find yourself stressing less about your evening routine.
Another way that you can help control your stress level is to create a “finished” list. Use your spare time to check off tasks that you have already accomplished. When you are feeling overwhelmed, take a look at the list of everything you’ve accomplished. It shifts your attitude from ‘I’m falling behind’ to ‘I’ve accomplished a lot today.’
Keeping this list will help restore a sense of calm and keep you motivated throughout the day.
Put Your Phone Away
Our phones keep us connected; through social media, we are able to respond instantly to our friends and loved ones. However, this creates a feeling of obligation to reply 24/7.
Trying to be there for everyone, even if it is through social media, can create a lot of emotional burnout. Using your devices often can mess with your brain by activating the nonsocial part of the brain that focuses on stimulation instead of making connections.
When you take the time to set your phone down and distance yourself from your device and social media accounts, you consciously make more time to connect with your family. You can encourage your family to do the same by implementing no tech nights.
You can also practice tech-free weekends.
Use the Power of Touch
One of the simplest ways to bond that is often forgotten is through touch. Touch activates the social circuitry of the brain and gives us a sense of being a part of something larger. You can make time at the end of the day with your children by snuggling up with a book to read.
Touch also helps reduce stress and anxiety while also lowering your heart rate and allowing brain waves to sync. Next time you hug your children make it an extra-long one because using the power of touch can help you improve your bond with them on a physiological level.
Family Night Rituals to Implement
Next time you are doing homework with the kids take a few extra minutes to sit down with them and make sure they are fully understanding what they are going over in class.
When you sit down to eat dinner, start a dialogue about your day. Make sure everyone has been heard and had plenty of opportunities to speak.
Institute a screen-free family game night one night every week. You can even order out to make the night extra special and the clean up easier.
Set aside fifteen minutes in the evening for each child and spend that time doing something that they want to do.
Read extra stories at bedtime to soak up the last few minutes before your routine starts again in the morning.
Turn on some music and have a short family dance party before bedtime. A dance-off is a great way to get those extra wiggles out before bed. Turn down the lights and crank some jams.
With all the adult coloring books on the market gaining popularity, coloring got a lot more mature. Spend a few minutes before bed coloring together, this is a great wind-down activity.
Have an indoor picnic. Order a pizza, throw down a blanket, and change up your eating location. Your kids will excitedly welcome the change and could be a great way to get them talking and connecting.
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