As families get busy once school starts, the time spent on family fun can wane unless you take proactive steps to avoid that. So often the weekends are jam-packed with things you have to do instead of the fun you really need to have to stay emotionally fit and in good spirits as a family. Here are some tips to forming your own family plan to stay connected, happy and sidestep that down feeling that often sets in once the things that have to be done take over your schedule.
1. Be sure to plan a mix of indoor and outdoor fun. You can write these things down on a family calendar or have a family discussion on what everyone would like to do, but be sure to record your decisions.
2. Keep it simple. The activities you decide to do have to be kept simple or you will find the plan will get interrupted by life. If you want that two day weekend getaway, it may be more prudent to schedule two separate days of fun closer to home. Keep the schedule flexible and record how much time is needed for each activity.
3. Limit the time you need to travel to any fun location to within one to two hours from home. This helps you save on gas and ensures you have enough time to enjoy the activity. If you are rushed every time you decide to go out, you will find that not everyone will be so happy to join in on the family excursions. So, to keep attitudes high, keep the travel time to a minimum.
4.Save money during the week to cover costs. So often a day out with the family gets ruined because there are no funds to cover it. If you charge these fun outings, the bills will catch up with you quick and sour the memory of the entire experience at some point. It's just not as rewarding to go out and have to charge it or “rob Peter to pay Paul” as they say. Knowing it's free and clear fun is worth forgoing the expensive lunch for a bagged one.
5.If money is tight, plan to pack a picnic, have a cookout at a local park or both. This can be not only rewarding, but practical if you have kids. Never again will you feel stress take over when the kids start getting tired and hungry. You can just grab a sandwich from the cooler for pennies and keep the little ones happy all day long. When you get tired and hungry, it is difficult to enjoy yourself as well. So, get a cooler and make a lunch ahead to stave off the cravings and hunger pangs that can wreck the day when you are forced to ignore them or feel guilt for having to “charge it”.
6. Think local fun. To ensure you make time to have fun on weekends, you should consider making the most of local parks or walking paths. Take a day to investigate what is in your city or town and make a point to spend a few hours or a day relaxing at the local park, playing with the kids or even just walking the dog. They can be the best memories you'll ever make. Be sure to take pictures as this will be worth your efforts when the kids wish they could go out to the park but it's raining. Just drag out the pictures or videos and have a blast remembering all the fun. It's priceless.
7. Do what you love to limit stress. If your family loves to shop, then go shopping. If your family loves the outdoors, don't plan a day at the mall and wonder why you feel stressed when it's all over. Doing what you love really will limit the negative feelings that build up during the week of work or school and will have you refreshed and ready to tackle the world afterwards.
8. Once you make your list of indoor and outdoor things your family wishes to do, put a price to each item and plan on ways you can save on the outing itself, or save up for it. Put this list near a white board or calendar you can write on, and as you see how the weather is going to be, you can choose a fun activity for the weekend.
If you never plan ahead you'll find the weekends just fly by, and before you know it those blue feelings will start to creep in. Watch as your kids grades are higher when they have the weekends to look forward to. You'll be more productive at work, and all will seem more right with the world. Who knew taking back your weekends could be so easy and rewarding?
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