In Part 3 we are going to talk about the ‘when‘.
So far we have figured out our why and narrowed down which activities we want our kids to participate in. Now the big question is…when do we find time for these activities?
I can’t make you a customized schedule, but I have 5 tips that I believe will help make your busy schedule more manageable.
Tip #1 Look for “Homeschool Classes”
The first thing you’ll want to do is search in your area for homeschool classes that may be offered for the activity you’re looking for. Homeschooling is becoming more popular and many businesses are seeing the benefit of offering homeschool classes during the non-peak times. So you may find a karate class for homeschoolers at 10am, or a homeschool art class at 1pm.
Finding classes offered at these times helps to spread out your traveling and reduce the rushing to back-to-back activities in the evening.
Tip #2 Maximize Downtime for Everyone Else
The second tip is to make good use of the time spent at activities. In other words if you have more than one kid and you all have to go to your daughter’s dance class, have the other kids bring something productive to work on.
Who says your kids have to complete all of their schoolwork before leaving the house? There may be some school tasks that you need them to do at home so they can really focus, but not everything will fall into that category. Have them bring a book or a couple of worksheets.
This goes for you too. Sometimes I bring my laptop and work on blog posts. Or sometimes I’ll do research on my phone or answer emails. Another thing that I started doing once my kids got old enough that I could drop them off and not have to stay the entire time at an activity was to use that time to do my shopping. Really just try to be creative with how you use that time. Just because your kids have activities all evening doesn’t mean you have to lose 3 hours of your day.
Tip #3 Carpool
My third tip is carpooling. You may go into an activity already knowing a family or two, but maybe not. Either way if you take your child to karate classes 2 days a week every week it won’t take you very long to get to know some other parents. Strike up a conversation, get to know some families, and then start discussing mutually beneficial arrangements.
Tip #4 Organize Your Kids’ Gear
My fourth tip is to keep gear organized. Nothing will kill your time and energy faster than running around the house at the last minute every time you need to leave the house looking for a lost shoe or belt or leotard. I’ve found the easiest way for us is to have a cube storage organizer near our front door like this one. Each bin is labeled with the activity and when we get home their gear goes straight into the bin. If you don’t let their stuff get past the entry area it won’t get lost. It’s always right there when it’s time to leave and has saved us so many headaches since we started using it.
Tip #5 Write Down Your Schedule
And finally, write down your schedule. Keep your activity schedule written down in a place you can see it easily and will remember to look at it every day. It’s even better if it’s in a place where your kids can see it so they know what to expect.
Incorporate as many of these tips as you can into your day and it will help keep your activity schedule manageable. The most important thing to remember is to not sacrifice your sanity or your family’s mental, physical, or spiritual health in exchange for more activities. Always keep your priorities in mind while planning and don’t be afraid to say no sometimes. Your kids will thank you.
I hope this series has been helpful. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.