One of my pet peeves when my husband comes home from work, or the kids come home from practice, is to answer the question, ‘how are you?’ with “Tired.” To me, it’s an absolute given in today’s world of year-round sports for kids, and long work hours for parents. It also just puts people in a box: I’m tired, therefore I’m going to sit on the couch. We are all tired. We all still have to do the things, including spending time with our children. So the first piece of advice on the following is related to that. Then it gets a little more concrete. Pro tip: Have something in mind that fits your energy level before you get home and be the one to suggest first!
- Interaction with kids is happening whether you are tired or not. You aren’t getting out of it, nor should you want to. The good news? You have options. So the first thing you can do with your kids when you are tired is to choose something appropriate for your level of energy.
- Go for a stroll. Don’t make it a power walk for exercise. Walk slowly, observe your environment, and catch up on the day’s events.
- Do a few easy chores together. Does the garden or lawn need watering? Pull up a chair for your kid (or vice versa if they are old enough to water) and chat while you water.
- Make dinner. If you hate to cook, this might not be the best choice. But if you enjoy cooking, or it’s your job on a particular night, grab a kid and give him a task.
- Stretch.Get down on the floor and do some stretching together. Throw in some easy yoga poses (child pose is a good one.) Put on some music.
- Listen to music. Some kids may have a real love of music, especially older kids or teens. Take turns asking Alexa to play a favorite song. No screens, just music and talking.
- Watch a movie. Put the phones or other electronics away for the entire time. Watching a movie is a great way to bond, especially when you talk about it after.
8. Read. If your child is young enough to enjoy being read to, go for it. If not, see if he or she would like to read the day’s headlines to you. Watch the conversations flow.
9. Visit a relative. Take advantage of the rest you need and pick an easy relative (as if there are such things as difficult relatives) to take your children to see and catch up.
10. Play a game that can be done at a table, sitting down. Cards, board games, or video games can be done from the sitting position!
11. Go to a park. If your kids are young enough, let them bring a friend and burn off energy while you sit on a bench and observe, or push them on the swings.
12. Help with homework. If they are young enough, ask if you can see what they’re working on at school and let them share about it.
At almost any age, you can find something that doesn’t require too much physical exertion that is possible to do with your kid(s) at the end of a long workday. And don’t forget just being with them. Sitting and talking. Play 20 Questions and see where the conversation goes.