After a week of filled with school, work, and household obligations, our weekends are family time reserved for fun activities we can all enjoy. In the fall months, we spend most of our weekends outside at football and softball games. It takes some creative thinking and careful planning to make sure that the constant running from one field to the next does not become a chore in itself.
For one, if at all possible, we all go to every game and every practice. This allows us some additional family time together. Also, it allows me to know first hand how my kids are behaving and performing in their chosen sports. It doesn't really matter how I feel about those sports because my kids love them.
We try not to let sports interfere with our normal routine. When we have back-to-back games that fall right in the middle of dinner time, we pack a picnic and eat at the field. This allows us to still eat together and at a normal time. No one comes home starving and grumpy and I don't feel that we've missed this important family time ritual.
We don't let ourselves get too overbooked. One sport per kid per season has always been our rule. With three kids, that's more than enough! In addition to limiting our shuffling and driving time, this rule reduces the number of evenings that we're double booked. This rule also teaches my children the importance of focus and commitment. For this fall, my sons will focus all their sporting efforts and energies on being the best football players they can be until the end of the season.
On the odd weekend free of sporting events, we still make it a priority to get outside and play together. Some of our favorite activities include:
- visiting a farmers market
- finding a festival outside, especially if music is involved
- hiking in the state park
- playing catch or other games in the backyard
- riding bikes together
- working together in the yard and the garden
How does your family spend time together outside on the weekends?