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Do you ever wonder what to do when the kids are away? The first few times my kids spent the weekend with their grandparents I felt kind of lost. Loving on them and running my house takes up the majority of my day. How was I going to fill what felt like so. much. time?
One of the big reasons we chose to move from Washington to North Carolina was to be closer to family. Both sets of grandparents are retired now and flying in to visit a few times a year just wasn’t fostering the close relationships we wanted our kids to have with their grandparents. Texting and email only help so much. They needed to be geographically closer.
Right now my kids are spending the week with their paternal grandparents at the beach. They are loving life. Every day consists of swimming, board games, ice cream, and riding around in a golf cart.
What about the parents though? What are we supposed to do? Our normal routine of child care, settling arguments, and child related errands has come to a screeching halt.
Honestly, the first few times my kids spent a night or two away from me I had no idea what to do. I ended up just wasting time…and regretting all my missed opportunities once my kids were home.
What to Do When Your Kids Are Away
Tackle projects requiring focus or time
This is a great opportunity to complete projects that are difficult with children underfoot. I love my children and I love having them home all day, but I can generally move faster and with more focus when they are not tagging along. I do not need to stop as often and can knock out bigger tasks.
This is a great time to:
- Tackle home improvement projects
- Deep clean and purge the house
- Prepare lesson plans and gather future materials
- Get organized
- Prep a bunch of meals for the freezer
Spend quality time with your spouse
If at all possible, try to schedule in a few date nights while you don’t need a sitter. Date night is so much more enjoyable when you are not worried about rushing back to relieve the sitter.
We have a few dates planned for this kid free week:
Order take out and watch shows we couldn’t watch with the kids awake. We did this our first night home alone. The house felt way too quiet and the television helped fill that void. We brought home delicious Peruvian chicken and watched Handmaid’s Tale and Big Brother while hanging out on the couch. It was great to just relax all evening.
Go out to dinner. This restaurant technically allows kids, but it is a little upscale for them. While they are enjoying pizza at Grandma’s house, we will dress up a bit and hit the town. I love southern food . . . especially if I’m not the one cooking it!
Shop at the Farmer’s Market. Technically this is an errand, but we really enjoyed each others company. It was nice to take our time checking out various vendors.
Other ideas include:
- Going to a movie
- Seeing a theater show
- Attending a symphony
- Hang out with other friends – kid free
Incorporate some much needed self care
Hopefully there are fewer demands on your time while the children are away. Make yourself a priority! Now is the time to add self care items, big and small, to your calendar. Fill up your own tank so you can fill up your children when they come home.
- Schedule a doctors appointment
- Get your hair cut
- Relax in a bubble bath
- Paint your nails
- Shop for clothes – for YOU
- Take a nap
Having a plan for what to do while your kids are away helps you maximize the parenting break as much as possible. You won’t waste time wondering what to do. My goal is always to incorporate a mixture of these three areas when my kids visit their grandparents.