After a long week of classes and work, you and your kids crave the freedom and flexibility of weekends. Instead of just watching those days pass by, you can get more out of them using your online calendar. What makes for a great school-year weekend? A little scheduling and a lot of fun. Here is how your Calendar can help you enjoy school-year weekends to their fullest.
Winning Weekends With Your Calendar
What goes into a great school-year weekend? These 11 tips can help you put together the perfect one:
1. Finish That Homework
Before enjoying a weekend of fun together, you need to make sure your kids don’t have any outstanding assignments for Monday. If homework isn’t done early — Sunday night can be stressful.
Use time blocking to help your kids devote ample time to each assignment. Every kid has their favorite subjects, so they may be tempted to rush through the ones they’re not as fond of.
2. Use Fridays Wisely
Friday night is for fun — after homework is done for Monday. With that said, taking some time to prepare for next week is a great way to spend part of your Friday afternoon. As a kid, my family used to snow ski in the winter and water ski in the summer — IF — the house was clean and homework for Monday was done. Sometimes that meant sticking to the house on Friday night — for freedom the rest of the weekend.
Schedule a “round up” event in your calendar. As soon as your kids get home from school Friday, chat with them about what’s going on next week. Is there a science fair project they should get a start on? Do you need to decide on a parent-teacher conference time?
3. Keep it Clean
Nothing helps you feel ready for the next week like a clean home. Your kids probably made most of the messes, so why not enlist their help tidying things up?
Cleaning could be as simple as calling for a 10-item pick-up. Simply ask each of your kids to pick up and put away 10 things before moving on with their day. Do the ten-item-pick-up before bed each night and you will have a whole lot less to complain about. Set a reminder in your shared family calendar so you don’t have to hassle them about it.
4. Plan a Day Trip
You can always get away for the weekend by planning a fun day trip. Getting a change of scenery is a great way for everyone to escape the stressors of school.
Online calendars are the perfect trip-planning tools. Set departure times, excursions, and rest stops with ease. Whether it’s an overnight campout or an afternoon in the city, a day trip is a chance to make memories together.
5. Stay up and Sleep in
When everyone doesn’t have to wake up early for work or school, go ahead: Stay up late, and sleep in the next morning. Just be sure to readjust by the time Monday rolls around. But, personally, I’ve found it a lot more helpful to stay on the same schedule for getting up — no matter what I do the night before.
School can be exhausting not just for kids, but for parents. Packing lunches, checking homework, and shuttling kids to extracurriculars takes a toll. But, do schedule one night just for you and your significant other. And maybe take turns serving each other breakfast in bed the next morning.
6. Schedule a Lazy Day
Without ample rest, neither you nor your kids will be at your best during the week. Don’t feel bad for dedicating a day to nothing more than recharging your batteries. Read, hike, go somewhere with a friend.
Not every weekend can be for lounging around, so plan them in your online calendar carefully. When limited to once a month lounging, they’ll be a rare treat. Sometimes just a change of pace is what you need — not lounging. Doing something new and interesting is better than lounging.
7. Start a Weekend Tradition
Are you and your kids getting tired of the same weekend activities? Then start a new tradition. A new tradition will become something for the whole family to look forward to during the week.
Maybe going out to eat is your ideal evening. Perhaps your kids would prefer to go out for a movie or miniature golf. Decide on something everyone will enjoy, week after week — if you can. Schedule a recurring weekend event so everyone can watch it get closer on the Calendar throughout the week.
8. Let Your Kids Choose
Kids love getting to pick what the family does. Why not reward them for a long week by putting them in charge of an afternoon or evening?
Of course, if you have multiple kids, they may not agree. I’ve found it’s good to rotate who gets to choose the “event.” Bumper cars?? Well, I hate those, but if your younger teen loves it — suck it up and go once or twice a year. Giving everyone a turn teaches principles like delayed gratification and sharing.
In your online calendar, assign a weekend to each of your children. Set them to alternate so it’s never in doubt whose turn it is to make plans. If someone can’t decide, look backward at your calendar’s record of events for starter ideas.
9. Put Lessons Into Practice
Sitting in a classroom for hours a day is one thing; putting what you learn into practice is another. Give your kids a chance to apply what they learn. And teach them what you learned at work. You will be amazed at the input you’ll get from you family for your own work lessons — if you listen.
The best part about applying lessons is that this requires your kids to tell you about what they’re learning at school. If science is currently your kid’s favorite subject, why not talk through gas laws while you bake? Kids who love English are likely to jump at the chance to see a Shakespeare play live.
10. Nurture Their Hobbies and Talents
Kids have interests outside of school. The trouble is, there’s less time during the school week for them to “play” or practice their hobbies.
Encourage their self-exploration by giving them your undivided attention. Set your availability so nobody can book you while you’re building a model plane or painting together. Mom and dad — you passed over that sentence. My model boat is still sitting in a box from 10 years ago — and I cant’ toss it! I carry it around like baggage. Oh, little Abb’s doesn’t need to do a model — brother wants to do a car.
Your kids need to know that you support their interests, not just their schoolwork.
11. Invite Friends
Your kids may eat lunch or spend time on the playground with their peers, but hanging out with them on the weekend is a different experience. Weekends give them time to play everything from chess to hopscotch without interruption.
Kids can’t go off and play like I did as a kid. Hours off riding backwoods trails with a friend or alone can’t be done today. It’s not safe. Figure out a way to give your kids some private time with friends to build their social self.
Use shared calendars to coordinate with other parents. Figure out which weekends work for all families involved. Take turns picking up and dropping off the kids to lessen the burden on each family.
Seize the weekend with your online calendar. After a long week of work and school, you and your kids deserve to live every weekend to its fullest.
Nina Gass is a content writer with a diverse background who understands the struggles of small business owners, freelancers, and company founders. Her content delivers insightful and actionable advice to improve time management, productivity, and sanity despite wearing numerous hats and juggling multiple responsibilities in work and life.