We’re all far-too-familiar with the disorienting mornings lately. Upon opening our eyes, we struggle for moments – minutes even – to recall the day of the week. Without school or camp to ground us, it can seem like a non-starter for the kid schedule, anyhow. Is there even a difference in the days anymore? What is TGIF or “working for the weekend” when every day of the week could be a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?
But there’s a benefit to carving out weekends that feel different and special. It’s worthwhile to delineate these days, for a few reasons. One – it’s fun to have something to look forward to. And two – one day, if and when school and working from a location that isn’t home resume again, it will be great to have some semblance of schedule, ritual and “weekending” in place and in practice. With that in mind, here are some ways to make weekends memorable for everyone.
Limit Work: When many are working from home, it’s hard not to keep going on weekends, catching up or taking care of a few loose ends. The trouble is, that creeps into the rest of life, and suddenly weekends are no different from weekdays. When possible, try to keep work contained to the weekdays. This can be a strategy for the kids, as well. They can imagine making movies, building models, drawing, writing stories, playing LEGO, crafting, and even baking as their “school” or “career” (think future artists, filmmakers, engineers, and architects) and keep it for the weekdays. Then, on the weekends, there can be different activities all together.
Food Treats: After my mom retired, she still reserved making herself a latte for weekend breakfasts. When I asked why she didn’t make a latte on weekdays, she told me that she wanted to keep the special nature of that leisurely drink. I also remember as a kid only being allowed treats like potato chips and the tiniest glass of ginger ale on Sunday evenings while watching The Muppet Show. It made the treats that much more special, the weekends more magical, and the rituals more anticipated. Now that a Tuesday morning is little different than a Sunday, I still try to keep special breakfasts like homemade pancakes or waffles for the weekends. We tend to have nicer, more elaborate dinners on weekends, too. And if I’m going to bust out a really special treat, like a coveted homemade cookie or chips, I make sure it’s on a weekend.
Fun Clothes: Another thing that we have lost by being home all the time is the difference between school and work clothes and party outfits. So now I’m trying to save my more traditional (boring) clothes for the week, and having a bit of fun on the weekend (palm tree print dress, anyone?). Depending on the kiddo, they might be excited for a chance to wear a special outfit, too. Why not dress up for those special Sunday morning pancakes?
Pyjama Time: On the flip side, it can be nice to save pyjamas for weekend mornings. These days I try to get changed into real clothes on weekdays at a reasonable time (ok… before 9 a.m.) and attempt to have my children do the same. But then on weekends, it’s lovely and luxurious to stretch pyjama time to a slightly later hour. By reserving it for the weekends, too, it helps prevent slipping down into all pyjamas, all the time – which doesn’t tend to do much for productivity.
Weekend Rituals: I am all about bringing back weekend rituals. That’s why my partner and I only do crossword puzzles on Saturdays and Sundays – a holdout from the days when I only got the newspaper (paper version) on weekends. Kids might like to start the tradition with age-appropriate word searches, scrambles, Sudoku, and other fun puzzles. I’m also keen to reinstate Saturday morning cartoons. Looney Toons, Treehouse, you name it – there’s something wonderful about a cartoon marathon – with a hard stop at 11, just like in the olden days. We also try to avail ourselves of offerings that have returned, like our local Saturday farmer’s market. We used to attend often, so when it was deemed safe to re-open, we try to visit as often as possible to remember what “market day” feels like.
Quiet Time: When I was a kid I looked forward to an hour or more of uninterrupted reading on a Sunday afternoon. That’s one weekend novelty that I am trying to reintroduce. Everyone can take to their rooms for an hour to read, look at picture books, or, in a pinch, watch something. I love curling into my bed with a cup of tea (and a cookie or two) and reading, or sometimes looking at vacation photos, or design and décor inspo. My partner naps – I don’t – it’s all about what fills your bucket! It’s a lovely, quiet, soft way to recharge and cherish weekend time.
Excursions and Outings: Even when the world was locked down, we still tried to have some outings on weekends, like hikes, walks, or bike rides. Now that more things are re-opening, it’s a chance to take a short day trip to a nearby destination to pick up a take-away snack from a different location, to sip a coffee from a new café patio, and even window shop on a new-to-us main street. We mask up, we wander, we explore and we try to have experiences on weekends as safely as possible.
Movies: It sounds a bit silly, but we save watching movies for weekend nights and watching TV shows on weeknights. I guess it’s a holdover from when there wasn’t time to watch a movie on weeknights because of school and extracurricular activities, plus the need to maintain a bit of an earlier bedtime. That habit has remained, and now we happily put on a movie on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, not worrying about bedtime as much, and enjoying the novelty. Then, on weeknights, it might be a walk and a show, or a phone call with family and a shorter episode. It’s not a rule, and we don’t always stick to it, but it helps maintain that magical feel of movies. Plus, ongoing TV shows seem better suited to the other days of the week and movies and special snacks always go well together.
Working less, having special rituals, and carving out weekends from the oft-times numbing cycle of days – it’s worth it to have that feeling of a special day when you wake up Saturday morning. The kids will likely love it, and then, when weekends are truly a thing again, you’ll be all set!