What even counts as a “hack” these days anyway? I don’t know if this post counts as a mom hack. Maybe I should have called it “A thing we do that is pretty great” or something to that effect.
Weekends with kids can be tough figuring out how to fill two full days with just the right balance of activities versus rest. They either get bored or they’re overbooked. They’re exhausted or super hyper. And managing those ups and downs is down right exhausting for parents.
Until my friend (hi Kelly!) introduced me to the way she divides her weekends up for the kids: Quads. This has been a game-changing way to look at weekends for us and has helped us to balance how all four of us are feeling.
Q1: Saturday morning
Q2: Saturday afternoon/evening
Q3: Sunday morning
Q4: Sunday afternoon/evening
Not impressed yet? No, I wasn’t either, but hear me out.
The anchor: When your kids are little, the quads are split up by a nap so Q1 and Q3 are wake up until nap time. Q2 an Q4 are after nap. If your kid(s) are older and no longer nap, one of the main keys of the “quad system” (lol that I’m calling it that) is a rest in between the quads. So everything we plan is before nap/rest and after nap/rest on both weekend days.
Luca still naps but Amalia gets a “TV rest” during the anchor time for an hour each weekend day.
Family fun quad: When we’re looking at the upcoming weekend and trying to figure out our plans, we like to make sure we have at least one quad where we do an activity as a family (playground, kid’s museum, beach, pool, etc) out of the house.
Home play quad: We also try to have one quad where we are all together at home just playing so the kids can both relax and have fun at the same time. In the summer we usually pull out the water table and play outside and in the winter we’ll all go to the basement and play there.
We can breathe easier with Luca knowing things are baby-proofed and we don’t have to chase after him every second.
Kid friend quad: One of the quads (minimum) should include a playdate or activity with the kids’ friends. Luca is too young to care about this now so we just do it for Amalia. Now that she’s 5 we can do drop-off playdates which is a huge game changer
Break quad: If possible, and it’s not always possible, we try to give each parent at least half of a quad as a break. With Luca at this age, it’s tough but it makes a huge difference to get out on your own or with a friend for an hour or two on a weekend.
Big events: Most daytime events are kid birthday parties so if we have one, we try to take it a little easier the rest of the day. Birthday parties generally involve a lot of running around, a lot of sugar, and some emotions to go along with it.
The most important of all the quads: Q4 is often the toughest time of the weekend especially if we have a lot going on. The kids are cranky and tired, the parents are cranky and tired. If the other 3 quads are packed and we’re all pooped, we will do an early bath time and then have a movie night to calm the whole crew down. Often with a glass of wine for mom and dad!
Obviously this all gets thrown out of whack when you have houseguests or if you’re out of town but even in those cases we try to stick to our quads as much as possible.
Play around with your quads based on your family and the ages of your kids. Planning out our weekends in divided time blocks helps to ensure we make the time for everything we want to do without overbooking. It’s more fun for our kiddos, less stressful for us, and sometimes we even end up with a minute or two to relax.
I hope this helps you guys as much as it’s helped us!