Tuesday, March 24, 2015

End of week blues

The end of another week is quickly approaching. You would think that as a father of 5, I look forward to the weekends. And for the most part I do. As soon as we hit Saturday afternoon, things start getting much better. It's just that Friday night to Saturday morning time that is ruthless.  The exhaustion from school each week wrecks my kids, and truly sets in after school on Friday. It hits us all like a ton of bricks, to the point where my wife and I seem to be scrambling each Thursday to come up with a way to help smooth out our Friday afternoon.

Don't get me wrong, my kids are amazing kids. It's just by the end of each school week they are simply spent. They put a lot into being the best they can at school. They hold on through the boredom, social anxieties, academic anxieties, and the overall need for staying out the trouble only to fall across the finish line after a long week.

The hard part about this is that they demonstrate how tired they are by acting out. They lose all filters and impulse control. They are all naturally active kids, so the activeness stays, but most control of themselves vanishes. Sudden breakdowns are common. Combine the breakdown with a super tantrum and I just try to hold on through the perfect storm. It's quite remarkable.. really... when you look at it from a distance. 

As we've watched this exhaustion lead to tough behavior each week, we've gained a couple insightful options that could help families in similar breakdown/exhaustion cycles.

1) Keep to a routine. After a long week, it breaks kids further to go home and learn of an unplanned event on a Friday. Keep after school on Friday to a know schedule with plenty of relax time or decompress time. Maybe that's with an electronic device, but that's okay. Just keep it low key and routine focused. We have pizza Fridays to keep that steady, so they know what's coming.

2) Playdates are good distractions. We found this little nugget a few weeks ago. Our oldest was invited to a friend's house and our 2nd in line had a friend over. It was glorious to have sibling separation, and the distraction of a friend. The kids had a great time, and by the time all play dates ended. We had dinner, a book and bed. A few break downs along the way, but not an entire afternoon full of them!

3) I've seen other families keep Friday for game night, movie night, or some other family focused activity. I know my crew would love art night Friday's.... That just piped in my head!! Gonna have to further think that one through! 

I'd love to hear your ideas or best/craziest end of week break down story in the comments below! Thanks for reading!