Top 15+ Ways to Make Most of the Weeknights With Kids

In today’s fast-moving world, we often find ourselves engaged with our professions for a better part of the day. With the ever-increasing competition on the work front, it makes sense to try and give your best performance at your job. 

But as a result of spending a significant amount of our time in our jobs, we end up sacrificing the time we have for other important aspects of our life. Being able to spend time with our family is the primary casualty of our busy daily schedule.

How can we spend quality time with our kids?

  • Engage in their extra-curricular activities.
  • Keep track of their academic performance.
  • Create a weekly routine with day-specific activities.
  • Try being home before the kids go to sleep.
  • Make clear demarcations between work and life.
  • Try and involve yourself more in their favorite hobbies and be their favorite cheerleader.

Here is how you can spend the weeknights with kids.

It is vital that we understand the importance of the time we spend with our kids and its implications on their growing years.

Take interest in their school activities.

Kids enjoy school activities especially when it is not related to academics. And these are the very activities that help in developing the aptitude and curiosity in them. Most of these activities are planned by the schools in such a way that the parents can take an active part in them along with the kids.

It is often said in schools that, parents can do so much more at understanding their kids and shaping their interests than the teacher at school. It is for this reason that most schools never cease to emphasize the importance that parent-child interactions at home carry. 

Make your presence felt.

It is always important to engage with your kids on weeknights with their school activities. These can be in the form of various art projects, craft-making, etc. The gist of the matter is that kids need to feel a sense of partnership with their parents on all matters and especially school matters.

It has been proven time and again that kids who spend quality time on a regular basis with their parents grow up to be confident adults.

Follow up on their academics.

The academic performances of their wards are a constant source of worry for most parents. In today’s meritocratic world it makes sense as well. But most parents forget, ignore, or find it unable to spend time checking up on their kids’ academic performance on a regular basis.

These parents only come to realize the level of performance of their kids when the results are out. 

 A sustained effort is required.

Parents need to understand that their kids are undergoing academic duress throughout the year. What the result shows at the end of the year is nothing but a culmination of learnings and mistakes made across a year. Spending time with your kids on weeknights helping them with their studies does not just improve their understanding of the subjects.

Parents also get to learn a lot with regards to the subjects in which their kids are lagging, and in which they are acing. Apart from providing support to the kids, it also provides for a very effective bonding session between the parents and the kids.

The kids start being much more honest and open up themselves when they realize that the parents are there putting in their time and effort to make things better for them.

Plan an activity for each day of the week.

Confining your kids to academic activities is a mistake that too many parents commit too often. This hackneyed practice always fails to bear the desired results. Interest in sports, arts, and other activities always helps the kids develop a sense of confidence, individuality, and empathy.

These are qualities that will prove vital in the longer run. Mere academic excellence can never be the recipe for success in life and it has to be parents who develop these interests in their kids. Parents can plan an activity for each of the weekdays. 

A busy schedule cannot be an excuse.

Understandably, parents with hectic work schedules will find it difficult to spend a sufficient amount of time with the kids. But then again, these activities need not necessarily be time-consuming either.

Parents can plan short fun activities which will awaken the aptitude and curiosity of their kids. Once these activities become a routine, the kids will eagerly wait for them and thus, improve the parent-kid bond massively.

Parents can also plan activities that do not necessarily need both the kid and the parent to be in the same location. Parents who might find themselves traveling for work on a regular basis can come up with a game that can be played online to ensure they are always in touch with their kids.

Reading bedtime stories for our kids

Bedtime stories are the oldest parent-child bonding exercise known to man. Honestly, most of us grew up listening to fables and fairy tales from our parents or grandparents on our beds as we went to sleep.

Why should we rob the next generation of the same experience? Bedtime stories should not be treated as methods to get your kids to go to sleep. Instead, they should be approached as precious spells of interaction with your kids. 

Stories should not be lullabies.

Bedtime stories should not be a one-way dialogue where the parent reads the story as the kid goes to sleep. Encourage the kids to ask questions about characters and their motives. Make them interested in how stories evolve and how people behave.

Ask them to emulate the good characters and learn life lessons from the bad ones. Get them interested in reading.

Gradually the kids will start demanding their favorite stories to be read and be open to discussing them. If you think there cannot be a profound discussion about life lessons over Cinderella, you are wrong. Every story brings with it some moral which we apply in our daily lives. Make your kids learn from those stories. 

Never bring work home

Weekdays are busy for most parents. And it most definitely is not their fault. But there have to be clear demarcations between work and home. All the deadlines and pressures of the work front have to be left behind when you step out of your office.

Now it is easier said than done. But bringing work home can actually do more harm than good. It messes up the delicate balance that one needs to maintain with one family. Kids are extremely impressionable. 

Kids are checking out your every move.

They learn through observations and they observe the elders around them closely. If the parents set the right example in front of their kids by being good to each other and by being involved in their kid’s daily routines, they gradually pick up on these positive signs.

A tense atmosphere at home, which usually accompanies work, can be a deterrent to the healthy personality growth of the kids. Kids should not feel left out or that the parents prefer work over spending time with them.

To keep these untoward impressions from being generated, it is always advised to keep work away. 

Seek to understand their hobbies and take part in exploring them with them.

Hobbies are extremely important for kids. Hobbies are activities that they love indulging in out of sheer love for the act itself. It could be anything from painting to singing to swimming. The important thing is that the kids are doing them out of interest and not under compulsion.

Whenever kids explore a hobby, they are using their imagination and intellect to master something that they would do for nothing in return.

The smallest effort matters.

Parents struggle all the time to get their children interested in activities, but often ignore the hobbies that they find out for themselves. Exploring their hobbies and being a partner in their quest to improve at it can work wonders in your relationship with your kids.

Now it may not always be possible to accompany your kids to the swimming pool or soccer classes, especially if it is a weekday, but inquiring about their developments and spending time with them talking about it can be all that they need from you in the form of participation.  

Factor in the kids in your daily routine

Ultimately all the plans that you make for your weeknight with the kids can be spoilt just as easily. The trick is to factor them in. You have to make the weeknight with kids an item in your daily routine that cannot be budged. At the end of the day, what matters most is how organic is your desire to spend time with your kids.

If it is something that you perform as a ritual out of some misplaced sense of guilt, it is just not good enough. You need to crave those moments with your kid.

Those moments should be as yearned for by you as the kid. Kids are much more aware of our emotional state than we give them credit for. They can sense when we are completely present with them and when our minds wander off. It is important that we factor in the time we wish to spend with our kids so that when we are with them, we are well and truly present.

Ensure a family dinner.

This is a very simple and obvious practice that can be ingrained into the daily life of your family. Over the course of the dinner, you can discuss the day with your kids, enquire about theirs and keep yourself involved with their business. Kids grow up fast. Before we realize they would not want to spend any time with the parents even if forced to.

It is a very small window of opportunity that parents get to connect with their kids and create long-lasting connections with them.

The time spent in childhood has extremely deep-rooted impacts on the psyche of the kids and they tend to shape their entire adulthood. Realizing this should be the initial step in ensuring that the parents spend as much time as possible with the kids.

It is true that with the fast-paced lives that we lead, spending time at home is a task in itself, but prioritizing our choices and understanding the significance of our personal relations is paramount in making the right decisions.

Verdict

These are only some ways in which you can ensure that you get to spend quality time with your kids on weeknights. This may not be possible all the time, but the thing that matters most is to make your kid feel that you are trying your best to spend time with them. You can always compensate for occasions missed during the weekdays and make up for it by spending entire days with them on weekends. But the desire to do so is important. 

Try to find how your kids feel about you working late, or what is it that they would want to do with you more often. It is never wrong to engage in dialogues with your kids. Pretending in front of them rarely helps and it is always better to make them realize how hard you are working towards spending more time with them. Kids can be much more empathetic than adults towards your tight schedule and the efforts that you are putting in.

In the end, parents can show their concern, care, and interest in their kids’ lives with the most subtle of actions. They need not carry out elaborate dramatic bonding exercises. At times, a simple tap on the shoulders or a mere word of encouragement can do wonders.

It is all about making them feel that you care. And for parents, that should never be a difficult thing to do.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my hectic schedule just does not allow spending time with my kids? What can be done then?

This is a prevalent problem, especially amongst urban middle-class parents. If weeknights are too cramped, try spending as much time as possible on weekends. Additionally, even on weekdays, you can call up your kids at home and enquire about their day. This will keep you involved in their lives.

From what age is it advisable to keep yourself involved in the kid’s life?

It is advisable to be involved with the kids from the very birth. It is a common mistake to assume toddlers do not sense your absence. They develop their feelings of intimacy and familiarity based on your presence and so it is always advisable to spend time with them as early as possible.

Does lack of quality time affect parental relationships with the kids?

Yes, it does. Children start developing feelings of unfamiliarity and carelessness from their parents. They can start feeling distant which in turn leads to a lack of trust and communication between the kids and the parents.

Does it help to engage in honest communication with the kids about work-life balance?

It is always advisable, to be honest with your kids. Let them know the time constraints you face and how much you wish you could spend time with them. Most of the time, honest talk is all that is needed. 

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