After school activities, school projects, loads of homework, friend drama– are all just part of a kid’s life. And, it can be all too easy to slip into the end of year doldrums. This year, I have made it a goal to add some fun to our school week routines! I’m trying to take some time for myself each week. I actually joined a movie club with some other moms from my kid’s school and we try and see a movie once a week during the school day. Indulgent, I know. I’m trying to keep one night a weekend just for hubby and me to have date night. Over the course of the year it can be so easy to focus on everyone and everything aside from our marriage. Lastly, I’m trying to add some fun into our regular family weeknights. Let’s face it…even kids can get depressed with the monotony of the school year! I want to be a more fun and relaxed mom for my kids.
I asked the kids to help me put together a list of small & totally manageable ways to add increments of fun to the school week. Now, we definitely haven’t been doing this nightly, but so far about twice a week, we’ve done something from this list and the pay off has been huge! The kids have laughed a lot, complained less about doing their homework and surprisingly they’ve been arguing with each other less.
Add Some Cheer to The End of Their day:
Let’s face it teens can be moody and they don’t have a ton of time to have fun with mom when they get home from school. But. I’ve cracked my son’s code. I’m focussing on making the first 20-30 minutes he’s home more relaxed. I turn all the apartment lights on, play some fun music in the kitchen and have some cookies or other fun snack out for him. It’s made that all important first interaction of the evening more pleasant for him and me and it really sets the tone for the night.
For My Younger Kids:
Impromptu Hot Chocolate or Ice Cream Bar: This winter, I would often welcome my kids home from school with a hot chocolate bar. I set out toppings like sprinkles, choc chips, marshmallows and whipped cream and let the kids create their own treats. The kids loved coming home to the surprise and we spent a good hour all sitting around the table drinking our treats and talking about our day. We had quite a few laughs watching Little pile the marshmallows and sprinkles on her cup. Now that the weather is warmer, I’m setting up a ini ice cream bar.
Old Time Favorites: This was a huge hit! I introduced my kids to all my old favorite games. I played Scrabble with Big and he loved it. Of course, being the teenager that he is, he especially loved coming up with racy words, but whatever. Frankly, I didn’t care what words he spelled, it was just nice to spend some time laughing with my teenager. I bought a set of Jacks and a Viewmaster at Target that I’ve been playing with Little. Other retro games that you might consider are yo-yo’s, the game of straws, Simon (which has quickly become a favorite of Middle’s), and Backgammon. And, I even agreed to play video-games with them (something that I normally don’t do) one night a week. Last night, Middle taught me how to play Forza on the XBox.
Crazy Mixed Up Dinner: One night serve their favorite breakfast foods for dinner. Waffles, pancakes, french toast… why not? If breakfast foods aren’t their thing, then trying serving their dinner meal backwards. Let them start with dessert, then their vegetable and last their main meal. Last week, giving them dessert before dinner made the standard Thursday night in our house quite memorable.
Have a Dance Party: This was such a good idea that it’s now become a nightly ritual for Little. I set the timer for 5 minutes and she gets to go into my closet and dress up in my clothes. When time’s up, I put on loud music and she “struts” down the hallway. It’s hilarious! While Big is too old to play, he gets a huge kick out of seeing what she comes up with and even assists her just to make it even more outrageous. Middle likes to raid his dad’s closet. Old Halloween costumes would work well too.
I’d love to hear how you add a dash of fun to school nights at your house!