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Forum -> Parenting our children -> Toddlers
Desperate for Friday afternoon ideas!!

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Post Thu, May 23 2024, 11:37 pm
Dh comes home less than an hr before Shabbos. My Fridays are SO hard. Most weeks I feel like my legs are gonna fall off by the time it’s candlelighting time.
My 2 year old is the hardest one. I have 4 kids ages 10 and under. I have cleaning help Friday (thank you hashem!!!) I try to be ready for Shabbos by the time I pick everyone up but the stretch from 12 to 7 is just way way too long. My toddler is EXTREMELY destructive so it’s hard being indoors with him when I’m trying to keep the house in order. Once the weather turned nicer I was so excited to take the kids to parks etc but now my bigger kids just complain the whole time that it’s hot and they want to go home and why do we have to be here …?
I’m desperate for ideas. I come into most shabbosim feeling like I’m gonna cry. What am I doing wrong? What am I missing? Any other ideas how to stay sane?
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Post Thu, May 23 2024, 11:43 pm
I have a toddler and baby Friday is the worst!!! My toddler watches videos because I have to cook!! He's a mess, melting down etc

I actually enjoy when daycare says he didn't nap and I nap him as soon as he comes home so that kills two of my hours.

Looking for advice.
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Post Thu, May 23 2024, 11:44 pm
Water activities save me on these long Fridays.
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Post Thu, May 23 2024, 11:45 pm
It's so hard that your dh works till an hour before Shabbos. I also have 4 kids under 10, and I had this issue for years until I couldn't take it anymore and he ended up leaving that job. It wasn't just the Fridays that were an issue, but it was the straw that broke the camels back.

But anyway, back to your question.

Here are some ideas so that you don't go bonkers.

1. Put them to nap for at least 1.5 to 2 hours. Don't give them a choice, and promise some sort of theat if they stay quiet and in bed. I would tell the older kids they don't actually need to nap, but they need to be in bed (you can have them read books) and you should nap along with them, that way you don't get to shabbos insanely exhausted

2. Make them a pool or let them go sprinkling now that it's so hot outside. In the nicer weather do parks and let them ride their bikes

3. If swimming and sprinkling don't work take them to an indoor playground in the hot weathers. My kids love places like that and I get to sit and watch them without standing on my feet the entire time.

I just want to send you hugs because I know how tough it is. Hope these tips help!
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 12:27 am
It’s really really hard- I can relate.

I bought a cheap blow up pool and let them play in it outside. I get to sit in the shade, and they are busy for a good amount of time. Older kids can use water balloons, water guns, etc.

I find that my toddler is harder to control if he is under stimulated, so after a couple hours playing in the hot sun he is much calmer and happy to sit on the floor with magnatiles in the late afternoon.
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 12:31 am
The library?
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 12:39 am
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 12:44 am
I like to set an approximate schedule, and inform the kids so they know what's coming next. For example 12:00 lunch, then some playtime, 2:00 Shabbos jobs (every kid has some jobs, even the two year old), 4:00 to'amehu. 5:30 baths. Etc.

It doesn't solve WHAT to do, but it helps somewhat with the longness of the day.
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 12:47 am
my kids also get bored so we go out and do free or low cost entertaining things.

water activities

library (jewish or non jewish)

visit grandparents if they live nearby

fruit picking

random free/low cost museums tht are nearby

walmart/target to buy ices/treats for shabbos

candy store for treats for shabbos. this is fun cuz the candy is sold in bulk so u can get just a bit of each and everyone gets to choose a few types

sometimes we go to a takeout store and buy kugel/chicken for the kids to eat

on a special occasion we go to chuck e. cheese but this is rare

trying to think what else but basically along those lines
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 10:06 am
Also our city streets are hopping on Fridays! Carnivals, bike riding, kids running errands etc.
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 10:12 am
A cute idea! take a large bowl and put in random toys, add water and freeze.
Kids have to bang with a toy hammer or any other banging tools you have and whoever gets all the toys out first wins
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 1:19 pm
Could older kids ride bikes/scooters while at park?

Extended bath time- buy bath bubbles, bath toys, bath crayons and play!

Car wash

Sprinkler/blow-up pool


Once all cooking/baking is officially done, make something extra for Shabbos- like cookie or cake decorating, rolling out challah dough, edible play dough

Make contest for cleaning up for Shabbos and then erev Shabbos treat- ice cream!
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Post Fri, May 24 2024, 1:46 pm
Thanks everyone for all the ideas! So a bit more context - we live in a quiet area far from family and my kids are home everyday by 4. I’ve been doing the sprinkler and scooter/bike riding every afternoon since it got warm out.. my husband also works very long hours during the week so I’m a one woman entertainment show.
I don’t want to do water activities on Friday cuz the clean up is hard. All the wet stuff and tracking dirty/mud into the house. But I think my older kids would be happy if I take them to a nearby lake and let them walk in it and throw stones (idk why they find this to be a fun activity)
My toddler is napping now and im actually sitting down on a couch!! Is that even legal. Hashem is very good to me cuz he’s basically given up longer naps I can’t believe he’s still sleeping.
I think 3-4 hours is a lot more manageable than 6-7.
I think this week we’ll be ok. Thanks for all the ideas everyone!!!
Btw regarding the library, it was our go to every Friday in the winter but my toddler has discovered pulling books off of shelves and it’s become a nightmare since. I can’t keep him restrained cuz he’s scream and we’ve had a few really embarrassing incidents..
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Post Sun, May 26 2024, 10:27 pm
I hate long Fridays. Worst day of the week, even Sunday which is a full day is easier because I can plan normal activities. Friday I'm just busy trying to stay sane and keep the house clean while everyone needs entertainment too. And my kids don't handle the heat well so being outdoors for more than a short while is too hard. I love winter Fridays when by the time the kids some home and eat lunch it's almost time to get dressed for shbs. Oh did I mention I hate these Fridays.
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Post Sun, May 26 2024, 11:04 pm
Can you get outdoor toys to play with the little ones while the bigger ones are inside? Like a trampoline, little tike cars, slide and swing set
How about sensory play? Like a Sand box, mud kitchen, water table
What about preparing toys to be played in non conventional ways? Like tracing different shapes of magna tiles on a big paper and having them try to fit the pieces in the shape? Or making shape/ numbers on the floor with chalk and having them throw water balloons or spray water when you call out the shape till the chalk is gone? Or hiding letters from abc puzzle around the room and they have to find and match it to the board?
Or you can do an outdoor scavenger hunt. All your kids can play. You can do specific objects for the big kids and for the little ones you make a paper with different colors and they have to find objects in that color and glue it to the paper like find a rock for gray and blade of grass for green etc….
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Post Sun, May 26 2024, 11:07 pm
Go to the park on Fridays. Take scooters and bikes or just do the playground. It breaks up the day and it’s free. Plus your house stays clean. Discover different parks in your area
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Post Mon, May 27 2024, 1:33 am
Can you borrow a 10 year old from a friend and have her be a mother’s helper for your toddler?

It’s hard being a one woman entertainment show. Kudos to you for doing it!

And for being ready for Shabbos so early!!
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