Working mothers have to do double duty. They work a 9-to-5 job (or some other shift); then they get home and have to take care of duties there. For many working moms this means taxiing their children around hither and yon. If you feel like you’re running around all of the time, you may be ready to learn how to manage your kids’ after-school activities better.
Parents with only one child can usually handle their children’s extracurricular activities. It’s when you have two or more children that things can get a little dicey. You may find it difficult to keep up with everything your children do as well as taking care of the home.
Decide as a family what is most important. Do you eat meals together every evening? Will your child’s activities keep you from doing that? What about the financial aspect of being in a sport or after-school activity? Will it put a strain on the family’s budget if your child is involved? What extra money will be required for them to participate?
Depending upon how many children you have, you may want to limit them to one after-school activity per season. It is easy for children to want to do everything. Help them realize some practices or planned activities may overlap which means they’ll miss something. By limiting the sports they can play or organizations they can join, they’ll be less likely to have scheduling conflicts and so will you.
Think about the time required for each activity. Most sports will have practice at least two days a week and games will usually occur during the weekend. Non-sports activities such as Scouting or music lessons may also require weekend attendance. If your child is overcommitted, something will have to give because they won’t be able to be in two or more places at the same time.
Get a large calendar and gather the schedules for each family member’s activities. Assign each person a color so you can easily see who has activities on any given day. Expect that you will have conflicts from time to time, especially if you have more than one child and they’re involved in similar activities. On those occasions where there is a conflict, ask friends and family to help you by supporting one child while you’re with another.
Don’t panic if your child can’t make every practice or every game. This can happen to anybody.
Pay attention to your child’s grades. If they begin to slip, your child may be putting more effort into their after-school activities than their education. Stand firm in your policy that school work comes first no matter what. Your child may see you as being mean if you take them out of something they enjoy, but it is much more important that they get a decent education than play a sport or instrument well.
Juggling a job, home life and your child’s after-school activities can be stressful. It may help to know that most activities only last for eight to ten weeks. Even though you’ll be busy for several weeks, your child can benefit so much from being a part of something outside of school. Use some of the above ideas to help you manage your kids’ after school activities and you might find you enjoy cheering them on and watching them grow.