Kids are busier than ever. They have school, homework, family duties, friends, and extracurricular activities, that creates a staggering schedule. Adults are also overwhelmed with the costs, transportation, and time that they have to dedicate to each activity.
It is important to turn this situation around by making a manageable schedule. You will have to work on it as a family. Each person involved will know the dedication the other is showing and will have a say in what is added to or taken away from the schedule.
We all agree that sports, clubs, and social events are important in a child’s life. But most of us would agree that education must come first. The child must have the energy, stamina, and time to put into their schoolwork before you can cut that up to include other activities. The average American kid spends 6 hours per week on homework. This must be allowed into the schedule or, the kid will probably rush through it or not do it at all in order to get to dance class or football practice.
- Make a chart
Make a chart that shows the average week of each member of your family. Show how much time mom and dad can give in transporting, attending, and helping with activities. Include the schedules of other kids in the family. Show the in black and white, what their interests cost in money and time.
- Schedule in down time
It is hard to say, “Sunday is a family day!” and stick to it. Sooner or later, someone’s life will interrupt your Sunday and then it is fair game for all players. Schedule your time in small windows that work for everyone. Also, schedule in downtime. These are pockets of time that the child has no responsibilities, Use these windows to teach the child how to unwind and release his mind.
- Limit activities
A kid always thinks they have time for something else. There is not a child that will not rush through the things they don’t like (homework, school, dinner) to get to something that is fun. It is up to the parent to hold the break. Explain the time restraints and explain the expenses. Then instruct your child to limit their activities to 1 or 2. A child cannot do their best at anything if they are distracted by what they have to do next.
Create a budget
Like an allowance, a child must learn to consider the cost of the things they want. Set a budget and show them when you apply things to the budget. This includes:
Clothes and footwear
Cost of extra gear
Teach them to work the budget
This is a perfect opportunity to teach your child how to handle money and get more for his dollar. For example, if you buy their dance dresses on clearance, you can show them that leaves more dollars for other things. They can opt to ride with someone or have someone ride with them so the travel money can be shared. They can buy gear from someone who used the same items last year but is now in a different section.
Set an example
You have to live by the same principles that you are demanding of your child. If you are constantly working during dinner, rushing out the door because you are late, struggling to pay for the things you agreed to, and not keeping up with family time, they will notice. Children are pros at doing what you do and not what you tell them to do.
Living by these structures are important for any family. If yours is not working, you may have to adjust it, but keep going until it is running smoothly. Show them that you also have to say no. You may not have time to help with the neighborhood yard sale or the church fundraising events. Practice what you preach if you want to be effective.