School mornings are busy, but an experienced parent knows the real rush is after school when the evening is packed with extracurricular activities. One child has scouts, another has piano lessons, and two have soccer practice on opposite sides of town. As a mom of six, I have survived busy weeks full of extracurricular activities and a calendar that can only be described as complicated. Whether you have one or ten kids here are some tips from a mom with a busy family.
The best way to keep your calendar from getting too full is simply not to fill it. Try cutting back on the activities you allow your children to sign up for. Time at practice can be reduced by allowing kids only one sport per season. However, sports aren’t the only activity that can take up a lot of time. Theater, music, scouts, and dance can also fill your free time. If your child has interests in both sports and the arts, try allowing one sport and one other activity at a time. Limiting activities will leave more time for rest and time at home.
When multiple kids’ activities conflict, split up the time. Have one parent take a child to a birthday party while the other attends the ball game for another child. Utilize the help of others, particularly for practices and rehearsals. Set up a carpool with other families and take turns giving the kids rides to and from to limit your time in the car. Don’t feel guilty if you cannot be at every single event. If you miss one here or there, you can attend next time. If you can’t make a game, plan an after-game-breakdown with you child. Ask them what they did well and what they want to work on. Let them know you can’t wait to see all their practice in action at the next one.
A carefully maintained family calendar is key to keeping everyone organized and where they need to be on time. Some families like to have a large calendar in a central location in the home, like a command center. Others may like to use technology to track their comings and goings. Find what method works best for your family. The important part is that it is accurate and up-to-date.
Don’t Forget Down Time
Families who are constantly on the go may easily forget to schedule in down time. Having time for resting and relaxation is necessary to recharge and reconnect. Busy families may find it helpful to schedule family time on the master calendar so that the time doesn’t get filled up with other activities.
Once you have your activities and calendar set, the best way to survive the busiest days is to plan ahead as much as possible. For busy nights, plan easy on-the-go meals and snacks. Freezer meals, crock pot recipes, and simple weeknight dinners that are prepped and prepared ahead of time will save you a lot of worry about getting your family properly fed and to practice on time. Pack up as many items as possible the night before so that you are not rushing around at the last minute trying to locate lost shoes and sports gear.
There are multiple benefits to participation in extracurricular activities, just make sure your kids have time to fully be involved in what you select. Get your kids involved in the selection process and choose activities they truly enjoy. Then, make sure there is still room to enjoy family time together outside of the hustle and bustle!