Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, soccer, gymnastics, flag football, language lessons, horseback riding, birthday parties, school PTA events–the list goes on and on. I’m talking about extra-curricular activities. For parents who are working outside the home, these enrichment activities can be one massive headache. We all want to give our children every opportunity possible, but sometimes it’s just not possible!
I am fortunate now that I have a work schedule that allows me to drop off and pick up my kids from school. But when I was working much later days, it was a victory to get home before 5:30 p.m. Dinner, homework, baths, and bed were all that we had time for. Even if the boys wanted to do another activity, I couldn’t say yes because there was no way for me to get them to that activity. Total Mom Guilt.
Here are a few things I did to make sure my kids were still able to participate in activities, even if I didn’t have time on weeknights.
I feel like a broken record, as I’ve said this time and time again in my posts. However, it’s so important! Family members may be able to pitch in to pick up and drop off children at events. If you do not have any family nearby, what about a close friend or another parent whose child is in the same activity? For the later suggestion, I would recommend offering some type of financial help, maybe a gas card or gift card to their favorite restaurant. This gesture could go a long way.
Look for Weekend Activities
Our sons really wanted to take karate lessons, but we couldn’t manage weeknight practices. After searching, we found a Saturday morning class – perfect! This won’t be the solution for everything, but chances are there are activities happening on the weekends that your children could be a part of.
The Internet is a great way to offer unique experiences to your child without running between school, the office, and the activity. Our son recently started an Arabic class with a tutor via Skype. Twice a week, he has a 30-minute lesson, and we practice the rest of the week. If he would be taking an in-person course, this 30-minute lesson would take 1-2 hours between driving, finding parking, the class itself, and getting home.
Allow One Activity
This won’t be possible for everyone, however, if there is one activity your child would really love to do, see if you can work it out. Talk with your supervisor and try to put in more hours one night and leave early the day of your child’s activity. If you and your spouse can arrange something like this with your employer, you could take turns. Many employers allow flexible work schedules, but if you never ask, you’ll never know!
In a world that places too much credence (in my opinion) on extra-curricular activities, it’s easy to feel like you are somehow failing your children by not having them in every activity under the sun. I hope that these four ideas will help you find a solution that works for your family. Don’t forget, it just may not be the right time to add more to your schedules, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
What activities are your children involved in, and how do you manage the busy schedules? Share your tips in the comments section below!
- Toledo Home Education League of Parents
- Summer Planning Guide for Busy Moms
- Time For Mama
- Teaching Your Kids About Diversity
- Time to Wake Up