It’s strange how I have worked so hard to build a very clearly structured routine for myself and my son. Having researched children’s routines extensively.
However for some reason the now seems to purely work in its entirety on weekdays. Then I am left feeling like I am surviving the weekend with young children.
Week days are structured. Both my husband and I work. My son attends crèche 5 mornings a week and his grandmother proves us with more child care around this and our work schedules.
We also stick to a very strict bedtime routine. Dinner, bath, wind down time, story, bed.
However weekends are often about playing catch up from the things that haven’t been done during the week. There is definitely less structure, which I find harder to manage. Toddlers are full of crazy amounts of energy and burning it off is the only coping strategy that is going to work.
During the week a lot of that is done in crèche with the variety of activities they do with them there. So this leaves me with an even bigger challenge to match the experts when it comes to the weekend.
I will attempt to incorporate at least one activity in the day where I know he can run lose to help manage the energy levels. Often we will be spending time with friends or family. So i rope them into whatever that activity may be. perhaps visiting the park, the beach or going for a walk.
I will attempt to keep the core staples of our week day routine in our weekend also. As I know my son loves the assurances this gives. I won’t say I was a really stippler for it. If there are things that need to be done or that we want to do. Where our daily routine will stop us from doing it altogether than we will forego it. However most times we attempt to shuffle things around so we can accommodate both.
Things like the time he eats, and nap time are generally non negotiable. If we want an enjoyable weekend then it just kinda has to be that way. But we do relax the rules sometimes.
On most occasions I will attempt to do lunch and nap at home, just because it seems to be easier to manage. However if I know I am going to be out. I will prepare a lunch to take with us or make sure we stop at around the same time in a café for him to eat. I will then try to time car journey’s or using his buggy with the approximate time of his nap. More or less this works. But if he won’t sleep I just have to accept it and not stress out. It’s often he will crash out maybe half hour later than normal. Or on a rare occasion he’ll power through and perhaps go to bed a little earlier.
Like if he stays at the grandparents. So my husband and I can get some much-needed quality time. We know then that bedtime will be out the window. Our son will either play up because he knows he can or they will keep him up because they want to spoil him. We are ok with that, so long as it doesn’t happen too often. After all, it’s them who will have to deal with the overtired toddler lol.
I will also attempt to pre-plan at least activities into our weekend, so that we have an idea about what we will be getting up to. It helps me to be ready with any items I might need but also allows me to schedule in other tasks and errands I have to get done.. like the washing!
Some weeks the house gets completely neglected due to our busy schedules, so on these weeks I make a point of staying home to get straight. If that’s the case I will always make sure I have things lined up for him to do. I will also make sure we do at least one activity that gets us outside and active as well.
Building Things into Your Routine
My general rule for weekends is to try to get out and about as much as possible. It actually seems to be the best plan of attack for managing my son’s energy. For every boring adult task we complete I make sure I counteract it with something fun that will use up his energy. We aim to do one big activity a month.
Something like going to the zoo or an activity park. However in the summer our weekend is all about the pool or the beach. Both of which completely wear him out!
Now he is getting that bit older, I am beginning to add extra curricular activities for him. From next week, he will start a one hour dance class on a Saturday. It’s a great way to get us up and out early on the weekend, it’s good for burning off energy and mummy is not allowed in. So I get the bonus of an hour to myself where I can focus on things. Like perhaps bashing out the next blog post.
We will see how it goes but it’s my expectation that this will set us up for a great day with him becoming more manageable as we do the other things we have planned. We will now also have a more structured Saturday routine, similar to that of a week day. With us up, breakfast, get dressed and out to dance class. Same time as our weekday mornings, just perhaps a little more laid back.
Our afternoons will be a little more laid back, with free time where we will be out with friends or family. Perhaps there will be kid’s parties to attend. Or if the weather is good we will just get outdoors and enjoy it.
Keep Some Normality
We then head home in time for tea at around 5.30pm where we then start to follow our standard bedtime routine. Ideally with him ready for bed or already in it by the time the sitter comes if my husband and I should be planning to go out.
Sundays, are all about being lazy. We will go for a nice walk as a family along the beach. I will prepare a heart family meal. As it is one of the few we actually get to enjoy altogether. If I don’t cook then we will make a point of going out for a proper family lunch. Then most sunday afternoons are left completely unstructured and we will just roll with it. Ahead of getting ourselves prepped for the coming week.