Friday, February 20, 2009

Managing Extra Curricular Activities

Just as I was considering violating my own one-activity-at-a-time rule for my children (can they handle lacrosse and soccer in the same season? Can I?), I saw some great tips from Leslie Minnema in the Washington Post for managing your children's busy schedules:

Between soccer practice, the school newspaper, dance classes, saxophone lessons, math tutoring, scouts (and the list goes on), kids these days try to take on it all. But being too busy can eventually take its toll in the form of stress, anxiety, strained relationships and lagging schoolwork. offers these tips for busy families to keep it all straight -- without overdoing it:

  • Agree to some limitations, such as one sport per season or two to three activities per week.
  • Schedule in afternoons and evenings just for homework.
  • Keep a calendar to stay organized, and post it in a common area where everyone has access to it.
  • Allow for kids to miss a lesson, practice or meeting every now and then -- to catch up on schoolwork or just relax for a bit.
  • Carpool with other parents to share some of the chauffeuring responsibilities.
  • Create family time, whether it's dinner at home or a weekly game night, where everyone can be together and not rushing off to another activity.
  • Know when to say no. If your child is already super busy but interested in a new activity, discuss with them the possibility of dropping something else.
  • Make school a priority. If grades start falling, extracurriculars need to be re-evaluated.

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