Every year our kids get older and somehow find that one more activity to do. Maybe it’s a new club, a new sport or another friend to hang out with. Then you also have all the original activities that each child is doing. How do you keep it all together and make sure no one misses any meetings or events?
With a really big calendar. I like to use a calendar with tear off pages and hang it in a very prominent place in my house. Usually it ends up by the front or back door, depending on which one we use the most. That way, we can see it when we go to leave, or come home. The back door is the one most likely to be used because it’s closest to the main hub, the kitchen. Each night at dinner we discuss the calendar and make a plan of which parent is picking up which child and from what activity. We ideally like to limit our kids to one sport a season and maybe two clubs. This of course depends on the time of year that we are in. In the fall, all my kids are involved in our local 4H. They only go to one meeting a month until the spring when the individual project meetings start and they are going to additional meetings. So they can do a sport and an activity in the fall, but in the spring, they only get to do either a sport or activity.
We set this rule at the beginning and don’t deviate from it. This helps to keep our kids busy, but not so busy that they have trouble keeping up in school. I have found that I can’t overschedule any of my kids because they get tired of being gone all the time and can’t just relax and be kids. During November we don’t do any extra activities other than school and 4H. This is when they get to just relax and get ready for the holidays. Usually they are working on end of semester school projects and Christmas presents. They love this way of scheduling and really thrive from the down time. We also try to keep at least one weekend each month of the year to do nothing but hang out at home. This gives us all a wonderful bit of time to reconnect with each other, have down time, get caught up on reading a good book, or visiting family.
Now, don’t think that we are gone every night of the week and don’t see each other. We really strive to have dinner as a family every night of the week. It doesn’t always happen at home, but it does happen more often than not.