Family, Kids & Relationships

3 Ways To Set the Weekend Apart When Days Have Lost All Meaning

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Having trouble keeping track of what day it is? You’re not alone. Now that over ninety percent of Americans are homebound due to the coronavirus outbreak, weekdays and weekends are starting to look more and more similar. Some families have been under stay-at-home orders as long as three weeks now, with no clear end in sight. 

Suddenly separated from our usual weekly routines, families across the country are having to pivot quickly to new ways of living. With schools closed, events cancelled, and the whole family at home each day, it’s easy to forget what day of the week it is. Here are three ways families can make the weekend special—and hopefully get back a touch of normalcy during this disorienting time.

Start a new weekend tradition. 

For many people, the weekend is a time to look forward to during the usual routine and responsibility of the weekdays. Starting a new tradition for your family to participate in on the weekends (and only the weekends!) is a great way to make those days special. Some weekend traditions might include:

  • Family game night: This is not only a fun way to spend an evening indoors, but a great strategy for keeping your family connected and communicating positively during the increasingly stressful quarantine. 
  • Pajama Day: Starting to get a little too used to those sweatpants now that we’re all stuck inside? Many of us are guilty of it, but wearing the same comfy clothes every day may contribute to the feeling of the days running together. Make a rule that everyone has to get dressed each weekday—but on the weekends it’s cozy time! Alternatively, go dress-code free during the week but plan a special fancy dinner each weekend; it’s a great excuse to get dressed up and make the weekend memorable. 
  • Kid’s Choice Day: Designate one day each weekend where the kids call the shots. From letting them choose every activity all day long (within reason, of course), to picking every meal that day, to deciding which movie to watch that night, this tradition can be tailored to whatever works best for your family.

Get into a routine during the week. 

This is easier for some parents than others, but even the most basic routine for weekdays can help provide some sense of structure to the week, which can help you keep track of time. A really basic weekday schedule might look like:

  • Morning: School work; arts and crafts time
  • Afternoon: Physical activity time; quiet reading, writing, or drawing time
  • Evening: Screen time, playtime

Different levels of structure work better for different families, but having some sense of predictability on weekdays can really help set the weekend apart. 

It’s the little things. 

With so many places like restaurants, libraries, and museums closed, most families haven’t been doing the things they used to do on the weekends that made them exciting and special. That doesn’t need to stop your family from recreating those fun weekend activities at home! You can try:

  • Weekend brunch: Weekdays are for cereal and yogurt. Make a special breakfast as a family on the weekends! Include everyone’s favorite breakfast foods if you can. Pancakes are a brunch classic.
  • Virtual events: There are tons of resources online—even local ones—to find up-to-date calendars of virtual events. Look through some options together as a family and put some things on the calendar. These “virtual outings” will give you all something to look forward to each weekend.
  • Museum trips: That’s right…your family can still visit many museums (virtually, of course) during the quarantine. The biggest upside to this weekend activity is that you’re no longer limited to only the museums in your area! Plenty of institutions around the world, including zoos and theme parks, are digitizing their exhibits to give access to everyone during the outbreak. 

The biggest key in keeping the weekend special in your home is making it different. It doesn’t have to require more effort—just a little bit of planning. Setting the weekend apart can not only bring some joy to your kids, it can restore a sense of regularity during a very confusing time in their lives. In a moment in history that is unprecedented and daunting, taking a couple of days to recharge and care for each other each week is more important than ever. 

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.