Anyone else get tired at the very thought of after school activities for the kiddos? My children attend a school where (thank goodness) the after school activities are offered right on campus. But what do you do if you have to drive your kids around town for them to participate in after school activities? I intentionally only allow for one sport each season per kid. In a household of four kiddos, having each one participate in tons of sports could easily break the bank as well as cause burn out for the entire family! I like to call it pacing. I’ve learned as a mom to give the kids a couple of choices and to teach them to be happy with their choice.
One of the things that we are working to foster in our home is balance. Our children will only learn this by the example we set as parents. I have to be intentional about creating space in their lives for rest, but also in my own! I have several mom friends that have a season where they do no sports. They use that season to refresh and catch up on family time due to the busyness of the rest of the year.
My kids learned this summer that it’s okay to have time to just be. I love having the flexibility during certain seasons where we are not in a rhythm of rushing off to the next thing. In our house when the schedule comes out for activities I allow the older kiddos to choose two activities that they are interested in per season. From those two they have to choose the one they are most interested in.
Kids learn to follow suit, so for those of you are wondering what I do if they whine and complain, remember - you’re the boss! You are also the one who has to arrange the logistics of transportation, gathering equipment, and having the energy to support and cheer them on. So choose activities that don’t just work for your children, but for the family as a whole.
There will be some seasons of sacrifice if you find that your child is naturally gifted or talented in an area. In that case that is what you pour your energy into. For example, our older children have really taken to piano and are both quite good at it. So this is a year round activity for our family. We will take a couple of weeks off from time to time if I sense burn out (always use your mom-tuition!) Then we are refreshed and back to doing what they love.
When kids are little activities teach them how to work together, problem solve, as well as a bit of responsibility. But when you begin to feel overwhelmed it may be because you have too much going on. Always be willing to reevaluate if necessary and make proper adjustments.