Starting at a very young age, our children's schedules seem to rival the busy-ness of our own. Between homework, after-school activities and family commitments, it's hard to make time to just let them be kids. Not to worry. We've got some great tips to help the entire family find balance.
It's tempting to sign your kids up for every class that sounds fun, enriching or that your friends have invited you to join. Know your schedule's limitations and prior commitments and just say "no" when necessary.
As kids get older, competitive sports, music and other activities involve a higher level of commitment. If you are signing up for activities with overlapping seasons or timeframes (i.e. soccer and baseball), be sure to talk with both coaches/teachers to be sure they can accommodate a few absences.
At the beginning of each new activity, set up a carpool with parents you trust. Sharing the driving responsibilities will help everyone gain a little time back.
Don't Forget About Homework
Even Kindergarteners seem to have homework these days and the older the kids get, the more the academic intensity increases. Plan time in your kids' day to complete their assignments while they are not overtired. For middle school and high school kids this may even be a few hours.
Talk To Your Kids
Spend time talking with your kids one-on-one to ask about their school day and their activities. When given the opportunity, they will typically let you know if they are over-stressed, having trouble or not enjoying one of their activities. Make adjustments to their schedule as needed.
Allow For Some Downtime
If you look at your calendar and every hour of the day is filled, chances are you're overscheduled. Block off time on the weekends or certain evenings during the week and allow your kids to just be kids!