For more than two years now, I am free every Friday. Free by meaning of not working. I get to spend every Fridays with my kids at home, turn my Blackberry (say what, in 2014? I know, right?!) off so no calls or emails coming in (I’d turn it on at the end of Friday evening, however, just for a quick check). I took this unpaid leave called parental leave or ouderschapsverlof, which you can read over here.
For almost the whole first year, I don’t know what to do. So we mostly stayed at home watching television and sleep. My oldest was only one year old then and the youngest was not born yet. So much quality spent… with the TV… Not long then came iPad. I did not want to drain my children energy on iPads! That was what I told myself, around a year a go. So, now every Thursday, I have to come up with some ideas. This post is just a reminder and also as a journal of what we have done previously, so in case of a some kind of block, we can go back and reread and plan the day.
- Visit a museum. Amsterdam has 75 listed museums and while not all are suitable for children, mostly are worth to visit. Some also provide specialty programmes for children.
- Visit the zoo. There is only one zoo in Amsterdam and it is called Natura Artis Magistra or just Artis for short. It is well maintained and have quite vast collections of animals.
- Go swimming. We can go swimming in a swimming pool or a ‘wet’ pool in the park.
- Playdate. Make appointments with friends and their kids and let the kids play together while mommy shared some delicious gossips, oops, I mean food. Definitely food.
- Bake and decorate the baked goods. Bake cakes or cupcakes or cakepops together. Don’t force too much on cakes. Make smaller ones like cupcakes, muffin, or cakepops. Get the edible coloring pens/pipes, edible glitter and other decorations. Once the cakes cool down, let the kids decorate them. Save some for myself, just in case I want to make prettier ones.
- Watch movie in the cinema. This will be on hold unless Daddy is at home and can take care of the baby. But highly unlikely in a Friday.
- Walking around. Start from home, go walk to somewhere we feel like to go. Left? Okay left. Then right, left, left again, turn around and go right. Walk around and around, probably we ended up at home anyways. Oh don’t forget to pack some snacks too! Or maybe we ended up at a local sandwich bar? Sounds lovely!
- Spend the day in the park. We go from morning/midday to early afternoon to the park and also bring our lunch, snacks, and drinks. Pick a place to sit and relax and let the kids go running and playing around the park.
- Lunch outing. We go out only to eat lunch. Does not have to be somewhere fancy or far. If everybody is in the mood, then we can go to Amsterdam binnenstad to eat cupcakes or pizza. If not then nearby McDonald’s will do.
- Bus/Tram outing. Take the public transport choice of the day. Ask the kids which one they fancy for today’s journey. Bus or tram? Either way, they cannot bring their bikes with them. Or their cars (the walk trainer thingy).
- At home handicraft session. If mommy is hella tired or it is raining hard, there is nothing we can do but stay at home. I am highly limiting iPad/TV watching in Friday morning to afternoon. What we can do is prepare a paper, pen, glitter, stickers, etc. and start making paper crafts. Or others. I can also print out coloring pages from My Little Pony or Winnie The Pooh and many more.
- Skype Grandma. This is a must do things every Friday. Status update report to my Mom in Indonesia.
- Read a book.
- Weekly grocery shopping.
- Spend a (half) day in indoor playground.