If you have been waiting all day for some time to yourself or with your partner, the moment when your kids are finally asleep in bed can feel like a real high point. Of course, it can be hard to use this time productively because you are generally exhausted, but what you can do is relax, unwind, and enjoy the things you like doing that are not centred around your young family! Relaxing in this way is important because it allows you the time to feel peaceful and do something you enjoy without the distractions and demands of your kids, which can help refresh you and get you ready to tackle the next day! If you have a partner, this is also an important time you can be together and enjoy time as a couple, rather than as parents.
So, here are a few ideas that don’t require too much energy or money and can help unwind and recharge your batteries once you’ve put your children to bed:
The internet gives us plenty of ways to kill time, but sometimes just scrolling through social media doesn’t really give that refreshing level of entertainment that makes it feel like time well spent. Playing games, on the other hand, is interactive, engaging and can even be quite exciting, especially if you play for money or prizes. If you spend a lot of your time after the kids are in bed alone then try bingo games – they are easy to play, you can win prizes, and you can also chat with other players and get that social feeling even though you are at home in your living room! If you prefer proper ‘hardcore’ gaming then there are loads of games you can play on Steam, and these include single player games as well as online games and games you can play with your partner. Gaming can give you some fun escapism while feeling less passive than watching TV or reading a book, and when it’s a game that really challenges you, beating it can feel like a thrilling achievement.
Card or Board Games
If you and your partner usually flop in front of the TV not saying much once the kids are in bed, then doing something together where you talk and interact can be a nice way to reconnect. Board games and card games you play against each other don’t require too much set up or energy, but can be a nice change from what you would normally do. You could even try getting out some of your kids’ games and trying to play them together for a bit of a laugh if you don’t feel like classics like Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. If you like the idea of board games but don’t want the hassle of getting them out and setting up the boards, you can play a lot of games like Monopoly together on a tablet, just passing the device to change turns.
If you really only have the energy to watch TV, then rather than just staring at whatever is on or flicking through repeats and cheesy reality shows, why not invest in a Netflix subscription and get into one of the many great series there are on there? They say we now live in a golden age of TV, and if you haven’t been watching all the most talked about shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Orange is The New Black or The Walking Dead, getting hooked on something like this will make your evenings something to look forward to!
This may sound like a strange thing to add to a list about ways to relax after a hard day looking after the kids, but the evenings can actually be the ideal time to get some exercise. While you may feel tired, once you get started you will feel energised and refreshed, and your overall energy levels will improve if you keep it up. Many mums complain they don’t have time to take care of their personal fitness, but by looking for workouts you can do at home, for instance on YouTube, you can try and add some exercise you enjoy, whether it’s weights, dance cardio, yoga or Pilates, into your day. Regular exercise will help you look better, feel fitter and better equipped to keep up with your kids, and even help bust stress, so doing it in the evening as many days a week as you can is well worth the effort.
Of course, there are some nights you will just want to have a nice long soak in the bath and fall asleep in front of the TV, but in general, you’ll feel better the more you try and get out of your evening time.