After a long week of working late – stressful schedules, traffic, and the usual annoyances that make up life in the city – the weekend arrives. If you live on your own, this is a time to veg out in front of the TV but if you have children, you have to try to find a balance between resting and giving them much-needed encouragement, support, creative space and valuable time with you.
As a working mother with two beautiful daughters, I face this challenge every week. And as a human being I find that the first challenge to overcome is realizing that this time is not just for you!
The first piece of advice I can give a parent who wants to spend a productive and yet self fulfilling weekend with their children is to stay in on Thursday night. I know that for the working set, going out to release tension on a Thursday night may have already become second nature. Unfortunately if your version of tension release requires a late night and a large number of tension releasing substances, there’s no way you’re going to smile at your four-year-old when she asks you to change her bed sheets at 6 AM.
Secondly, unless you were born with perfect parenthood genes, it is unlikely that you will want to spend time playing and discussing things with the under five set from 7 AM when they come knocking at your door or start calling for you from the other room till 8 PM when you tuck them in. The best way to get a good, uninterrupted break from kids is to spend a good uninterrupted amount of time with them first. If you’re trying to multitask between your little ones, your laptop and your blackberry, they will never be fully satisfied with half your attention and you will never get your work done – both of you will feel cheated out of your time.
This is why it’s our aim every week, to plan out fun and interesting activities to do with your children to prevent you from resorting to plunking them down in front of the TV and escaping into another room to rest and feel guilty!
This series will appear every Friday and as its main moderator, I call on all parents to send me ideas! What are you doing with your children during the week or on the weekends?
One of my favorite weekend activities with my children is cooking. We gather around the kitchen counter, get out the ingredients, and start creating. Although little ones should stay far far away from the oven, you’d be surprised how many tasks they can join in with – using two spoons to make cookie balls on a baking sheet, rolling out dough with a roller, mixing with a whisk…
For this baking extravaganza, we made pizza.
For pizza dough, if you’re a seasoned baker, you can mix your own – adding in oregano, olives or spices at your leisure. Otherwise, buy prepared pizza dough and get started!
Ingredients you’ll need:
And then pizza toppings (choose which ones you like):
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
- Most importantly–clean hands–make sure children understand that cooking requires that you wash up before and after.
- Lay out your dough and using a spatula, allow a child (probably 3 or older) to spread the pizza sauce all over the dough.
- Pre chop your toppings and have them set out in little bowls so your children can then pick and choose ingredients and spread them artistically around the pizza dough.
- (Take pictures!)
- You can also get a small clean brush and make a bowl of olive oil and parmesan – allow your child to brush the edges of the pizza dough with the olive oil parmesan mixture.
- Finally – the mozzarella – with hands, allow your kids to cover the pizza in mozzarella or any other cheese you find exciting.
- Put the pizza in the oven yourself, as children should not be near heat sources and within 20 minutes (depending on your dough) – you will have a fabulous home-made (and therefore relatively healthy) pizza!
- Gather to eat and enjoy!