Lead Dads know how to step up and be an equal parent. Laundry, housekeeping, bookkeeping, and scheduling kids from school to practice to play dates. Easy peasy, day in, day out.
But what about an entire weekend? When your spouse is away and it’s you, your children, and the dog alone? Any parent would be right to shudder. It’s a lot of time.
Of course you’re going to feed them, shuttle them around, and get them to bed. That’s the logistics of life. This is fun time. And fun time is great… but hard for the whole weekend.
You can’t be too boring, but also not too busy. You can’t be too uncool or lame, but if you try to be too cool you… you come across even more uncool and lame.
On a serious note, a weekend alone is also an opportunity for something bigger: to model to your sons and daughters that either parent is equally capable.
One wildcard: the age of your child/ren. Young children come with limits on what they can be involved in, and teens are usually looking for any reason to get out of the house. Even so, many ideas can be altered to meet your specific situation.
This is one of the more ambitious options, but if you are considering it, then most likely it is already somewhat of a pastime for you. Breaking away from the same old, same old can be a very healthy idea for both you and your kids. Put in the effort to change the scene. Make it solely about you and them. Take the opportunity to connect with the wild and show them a way to find solitude and peace. Dive into outdoor skills, campfire meals, and the beauty and wonder of nature.
Fishing and/or Hiking
While these activities can be incorporated into the previous option, they can also stand alone as a single-day event. They don’t necessarily require any extra purchase either, as you can usually rent gear for a day in certain locations. You don’t have to be a professional hiker or angler. The bonding time with your child is the stuff from which memories are created. Pack a picnic-style lunch and a few other provisions, find a good spot to explore, and bring them on the journey with you. They’ll be so excited to tell mom about the one that got away!
Museums, Family Fun Centers, and Arcades
You’re probably wondering why these three items are the same. Some kids will find a day at the museum more interesting than an arcade, while others might be more interested in bowling and laser tag. Either way, these often inexpensive options can sometimes take up an entire morning or afternoon without having to leave the building. They also allow your kids to set their own pace and interact with other kids. A friendly round of putt-putt, Dance Dance Revolution, and a greasy slice of low-quality pizza will put a smile on anyone’s face.
You don’t always have to leave the house to give your kids a memorable weekend! Don’t underestimate the novelty of “Dad’s Famous Nachos”, pillow and blanket forts, tea parties, board games, ice cream at midnight (shhh!), and “drive-in movies” with cardboard cars in the living room. Get into a puzzle or a weekend-long marathon of their favorite show. The longest recorded game of Monopoly is 70 days, so making a weekend out of it would be a piece of cake. Takeout can help keep cleanup to a minimum too.
You could find yourself planning any or several of these things, but to be honest, the only real part that matters is how present you are. Use that weekend with the kids to become a kid again yourself. Make memories with them by setting yourself apart from everyday you. Break up the routine, change the setting, get into what they’re into, show them what you’re into and explore some new things together! The time you spend with them will leave a long-lasting impression – even if they’re too cool to admit it themselves!
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