We can’t always afford the time or the money to take a weeklong vacation with the family. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t utilize our time off. Historically, I always felt like I should just stock up on PTO if I’m not doing anything fun. But that’s a bad idea for two reasons: first, many companies, mine included, max out PTO and you stop accruing it if you don’t take it; second, the burnout struggle is real if you never take a day off. And what better way to use that time off than to spend a little quality time with the kids? Granted, it’s important to spend time taking care of yourself as well, but here are some unique ways you can use that PTO for some good old fashioned fun with your family, bank-breaking not included.
Tag: Kids Activities
True story: I am the least crafty person on the planet. Okay, well, maybe not, but I definitely rank in the lower-than-average realm. I am not a creative person and spending what little free time I have doing arts and crafts does not sound appealing. Nor does the post-craft cleanup. But we can’t spend every weekend day at the park or out somewhere, and I know that a little variety is good for my kids’ development and imagination. So reluctantly, I set out in search of easy, mess-free(ish) crafts that didn’t require a trip to a hobby store and that I was least likely to screw up. In addition to meeting my high standards of clean, interesting, and using on-hand items that I didn’t need to go out and purchase, I also needed to come up with things that could entertain a four-year-old and one-year-old at the same time. It was a tall order. Read on for a few of my attempts.
When I went back to work after I gave birth to my daughter, my husband and I were each working about 60 hours a week. We’d often eat dinner at 9:00 pm while hovered over our computers finishing off the day’s work. It was a schedule that worked for us with an infant that had no interests beyond milk and sleep.
As she got older, we wanted to put her in extracurriculars, but there were very limited options that worked with our schedules. We settled on two classes in a row on Saturday mornings, but ultimately cancelled them because too many conflicts arose with birthday parties and other obligations, and it was impossible to get make up classes on the weekend. After my daughter begged to get back into her classes, we decided to give it another shot. Here are a few tips that we’ve found helpful as we learn to juggle extracurriculars and two full-time work schedules.
I work full time Monday through Friday, so “family time” only happens on weekends, unless you count family time as eating dinner with one hand while bathing a baby and toddler with the other, in which case, I get about 2 hours per weeknight of family time. And yet, by about noon on Saturday, I’m fresh out of ways to entertain my kids. This is particularly annoying when, like mine, the kids are too young to entertain themselves for any significant amount of time. You can only go to the local park or play with the hardened play doh set so many times. In a desperate attempt not to lose my mind or fake a work emergency to hide out in the office on a Sunday morning, I’ve compiled a list of ways to entertain children when you’re not creative, don’t have Disneyland season passes, and can’t bring yourself to let them watch another hour of YouTube Kids.
I only got the volunteering bug in college, and it began as a way to get extra credit in a required geology class. Despite the initial selfish motivations, I fell in love with volunteering and I’ve been finding ways to give my time ever since. I’ve worked with many organizations and causes over the years, including teaching various subjects from science to communication and peaceful resolution of conflicts in inner city elementary school classrooms, assisting with large gala events for organizations providing necessary and life-altering services for children with disabilities, participating in home building projects in third-world countries, and sitting on a board of an organization raising scholarship funds for deserving university undergraduates.