When kids come along, things change – especially weekends. Sleeping in, long brunch dates and nights out on the town become a thing of the past, and many parents feel stressed about how to survive, let alone enjoy, the long hours between Friday evening and bedtime on Sunday. But Donna Snyder, director of early childhood and family engagement at the Sari Isdaner Early Childhood Center at the Katz JCC, says there are a number of ways to take your weekends from awful to awesome.



Parents and kids often feel like they’re pulled in a million directions during the week, so weekends should be time to come together as a unit, says Snyder.

“The biggest thing you can do to improve weekends is to make an intentional effort to regroup and reenergize. Start the weekend by cooking breakfast together or by playing a board game as a family. That connection will set the stage for the weekend,” says Snyder. “Parents should also make time to regroup as a couple. Hire a sitter and enjoy a date night so you can feel energized as a unit, too.”


Put down the technology

“So much of what we do at work and school requires adults and kids to be connected to our phones and computers, and it can be hard to break that cycle during the weekend,” says Snyder. “But if you’re constantly checking email, you can’t relax, and too much technology can be very detrimental for kids. Make an effort to put down the tablet and be present with each other.”


Don’t overschedule

“We’re so scheduled during the week that there’s no time to just do nothing. There’s often this pressure to get everything done and go everywhere, and that can spill over into the weekend,” says Snyder. “It’s much more enjoyable if you choose one age-appropriate activity your entire family will have fun doing, and limit it to a few hours. And don’t forget to block off downtime for everyone.”


Get back to the basics

Sometimes the simplest activities can make the weekend memorable, says Snyder. “You don’t have to spend a bunch of time or money to make your weekends fun. Simply playing Chutes and Ladders or taking a walk to get ice cream together can bring back those sparks of connection between your family. Low-key, old-fashioned activities are so crucial to building memories as a family.”


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