Balancing busy schedules can be difficult with a family! But we have some great tips and some ideas to make your schedule appear less busy!
Balancing Busy Schedules with Kids
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School is almost here, which means the scheduling of sports practices and games, homework, music lessons, and chores. Trying to balance all your children’s activities and still have time for fun can be tricky with one child. Add more to the mix and it becomes a little crazy.
While raising my four boys, it always seemed like we were always running a marathon trying to get everyone to their various activities, homework done, chores, bathtime, and everyone in bed at a decent hour. There were many days I felt like I needed to take a nap midday in preparation for those after school hours. With these tips, balancing busy schedules might be a little bit easier!
Limit the Number of Extracurricular Activities
Children don’t have to be doing something every single day of the week. Overscheduling a child can make them anxious and leaves little time for play and homework. Consider one sport a season and maybe a music lesson. Decide what works best for your family and child. Knowing your child’s energy level and what they are capable of doing is important. If their activities are overwhelming them then you will want to consider cutting back.
Find activities that interest your child. Having to fight and argue with a child every day to get them to go to a practice they don’t enjoy is not fun for you or your child. Extracurricular activities should be about your child’s interests.
Create a Schedule
Sit down with your children and create a schedule. Put the non-negotiables on the schedule first, such as homework and chores. Then see what time is available and plan extracurricular activities around the time you have left. Helping your children to prioritize their schedule is a great way to teach them what is important.
Don’t forget to schedule family time! Whether it is one night a week or time on the weekend, put some family time into your schedule. Every fall and spring, Saturdays were often an all-day soccer day for us. I would pack a lunch and we would find a place to have a picnic between games and enjoy some family time. Some families have a game or movie night.
Whatever it is you do, it is important that activities don’t replace time for your family to connect.
Include Unstructured Time
Have time for your children to just play and take a break from activities and homework. Most of the time it worked out that our unstructured time was thirty to forty minutes after school. They would come home for a snack and would go outside to play for a few minutes, ride bikes, build forts or kick around balls. This allowed them some time to unwind and be a kid before they had to rush off to practices and then do homework and nighttime routines. I noticed that if too many days passed without some unstructured time, they were more uptight and rambunctious than usual.
Keep a Central Calendar
With more than one schedule and boys in different schools, I used a dry erase calendar that I put on the back of my kitchen cupboards in our dining room. Each boy had his own color of dry erase marker, and we put all their activities on the calendar.
Having a calendar in a central place allowed everyone to see what was happening when and gave everyone an opportunity to see if there was any room to schedule anything else.
Especially as my boys got older, it was so easy for them to check the calendar. They can see what was going on and recognize if there was time to go to a friend’s house, play a video game or sneak in a quick soccer game in the front yard before their various activities.
A calendaring system helps keep activities organized and helps everyone to see if lives are becoming overscheduled. It gives your family an opportunity to take part in helping to manage the schedule. This takes some of the load off of you. These days Google and Apple both provide great scheduling tools that can be used on mobile devices for everyone to see as well!
After school hours can be a hectic time. Balancing busy schedules is the key to not going crazy trying to get everywhere. By following these tips you can create some balance in the activities your children participate in.
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Eveliina is an intern currently working with us! She is on her way to getting her degree in Marriage and Family Studies! Eveliina is a wife, a mom, and a grandma. She loves every moment of life. She also has a love for photography and reading!