Getting pulled in multiple directions is a major part of being a parent. No matter the size of your family, there is always this juggling act of trying to do for others while taking care of yourself. It’s a balancing act that parents all over the planet have to do on a daily basis. Now, multiply being busy by the number of children you have and you have an equation for what could turn into a chaotic life! Here are some tried and true tips for managing your life’s extracurricular activities for a more organized and calm life.
Know what you’re getting into: Do research, or have your older children research, the time commitment that each activity will take. If it’s a competition driven activity like sports or chess, ask questions about time commitments during the peak competition season, i.e. semifinals or championships. Once you have an understanding as to how much time each activity will consume, you can make an informed decision as to whether it will fit into your family’s life.
Over commitment: Don’t feel like you have to commit to more activities than you feel comfortable supporting. Your children should know that you are there to help them, to encourage them, and to cart them around as needed. But they should also be considerate of the other sibling’s activities or your activities as well.
Don’t be afraid to say, “No”: This is the toughest one for a parent. You want your child to know that you are there for them. However, it is very important that you establish boundaries when it comes to activities, or else you could drive yourself crazy trying to accommodate their every whim. If your answer isn’t necessarily “No” at that time, then tell your child, “Not right now. Maybe next season”, which is honest and fair.
Scheduling: Make sure to post ALL activities in your online family calendar and sync that calendar with all of your cell phones. Everyone should know what is going on as much as possible. If you cannot manage an online calendar, then, have a schedule center in your home where everyone can see the week’s or month’s plans. Teach them to be organized so that you minimize “turn arounds” for missing equipment and information when trying to get everyone to their respective places.
Chill Time: Give yourself time to unwind between activities so that you’re not stressed out. Sneak away after you drop your child off at practice or at their club meeting and take a few moments to personally refuel. You never want to be totally stressed during the time that you’re supposed to be supporting them. If you have good communication with your child, they will want to share the day’s events with you when you pick them up. So, you need to be relaxed and ready to listen.
Time Management: There may be times when you have to drop one child off early in order for another child to be on time. Let them know that you are all in it together, as a family. Plus, this can help to instill good work ethics and time management in your child.
All the time management in the world will not stop a snag or two from occurring when shuttling kids back and forth, but that’s to be expected. What you want is a time management system set up so you and your family can help each other stay on task and find time to relax!