What do you do all afternoon with your children? My husband leaves around 6:30am and doesn't get home until close to 6:30pm (M-F). My kids both still nap but are usually up by 3:30, leaving another 3 hours to fill before DH gets home. It is the longest 3 hours! We are all cranky and bored and I am done with being home alone! I don't know how to fill the hours though and as winter approaches it is getting harder and harder for us to go outside in the late day. We belong to some play groups but it seems like most people only want to do playgroups in the morning. Anything else I can think to do in the afternoon involves spending money, which I don't mind once in awhile. The only free thing I can think to do to get us out of the house is the library and it is currently torture going there with my one year old. Any advice? Thanks!
We don't have a routine. We just do what we feel like doing. Today my daughters decided they wanted to take a warm bath with some toys. Right now we're having quiet time, and my 9 y/o is quietly reading nearby as I'm on the computer. Sometimes we'll do arts & crafts. Other times we'll head over to the community center. We'll play board games. The girls will dance for me or make up a play for me. The girls will watch a movie while I have down time. Oftentimes we'll cook dinner & snacks together. If the weather is nice we'll walk along the lake or go to the playground. We'll have "photo shoots", where I'll take the girls out and they'll just be themselves while I take their pictures. Sometimes they'll ham it up for the camera. We'll listen to the radio or put on some records. We'll clean up together. We'll call a family member just to talk.
My suggestion is to figure out what you really want to do right then. Then do it.
I have this same problem. My husband works noon to 10pm, so I have all afternoon w/ our four small ones! We have a new(ish) baby, so I feel somewhat less guilty about the TV... I used to enjoy tea time around 4 with the kids, where we'd have some hot herbal tea and listen to some classical music, then maybe they'd color for a bit while I got a simple dinner ready. Baths are a real time killer, so I let them linger 'til the water is nearly cold! Books on the couch, bed time... But I feel the same way. I am ready to be out of the house but can't really manage that w/ all four!
What about a free mall play area. Or just take a walk around the block. I also try and do a craft sometimes but mine( and the one i watch) is/are not quite old enough to get into it.
Or, start your own afternoon play group!
Also, a membership to somewhere is a one time purchase that they you can go to all the time (a science center or zoo something like that) I have a membership to a few and i am always there at 3pm. :)
I have a 3yr old and 20 mo old and sometimes I save our errands for the afternoon. Like today I need to go get cat food at the pet store and drop off some Christmas presents at a friend's house. We also watch about 1/2 hr of TV (PBS) and like to bake something. Or we play a game like ISpy or something