It’s quite clear for anyone at all concerned about saving up some money that going to the cinema with a family of five or taking a weekend’s trip to the beach can get costly really fast. And when it does, all of the fun goes out the window, especially for the parents. Oftentimes parents tend to put in so much effort and money into making their children involved in family activities, that they forget they’re supposed to be enjoying all of this as well! First, if children see their parents trying too hard, they might not like it. A wish to spend time together should come naturally, and it will once the children see that it’s not just them, but also their parents who are enjoying the activities and each other’s company. Some ideas you can consider that will not require much preparation and pretty much no money:
- A backyard picnic. Why go 200km to sit on the beach if you can have a nice afternoon on your own lawn, assuming the weather allows it? Throw in a French baguette, some ham and cheese, juice, some snacks the children love but can’t eat too often into a basket, grab a blanket and go outside to play some table games or simply chat and enjoy the sun. You can plan some activities in advance, but don’t overdo it. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Visit a local place of interest. And it does not need to be an amusement park or a zoo – as long as you have a plan, you can take your children to the library, to the museum, or even the supermarket! Keep in mind that for this, you will need a plan. You cannot expect the children to stay engaged and interested in a modern art museum. So, research the exhibitions before you go, so that you can tell them some interesting facts off the top of your head, ask them questions, tell them a funny story from your childhood. If a child sees that you know a lot about what is going on around there, they won’t just be more interested in what’s happening, but also see you as an authority figure in this situation, meaning you will be in control of the mood and the course of your trip!
- Try a new recipe. Isn’t it fun to learn something together and get your hands dirty with some dough? Many children love to play with food, so expect a mess, but how rewarding it will be! Learning something together is extremely important, because in situations like these the children and the parents are sort of on the same level. It might be refreshing for the parents to not be completely in charge, and instead have an experience where everyone contributes equally. In fact, ask for the children’s opinion and allow them to improvise a bit (just make sure the food will still be at least moderately tasty to eat, otherwise the kids will never want to do anything of this nature ever again), and you might as well be surprised with the great ideas they have!
In general, get as creative as you want with you time, just always remember, that quality requires effort, be it the jobs that adults do or the time they spend with their offspring. A little casual planning, prior thought and creativity can go a long way!