Get Organized For Sports And Activities so they don't take over your family's life!
Here in the Midwest USA, lots of children are heavily involved in organized sports and many other activities. While this may be true in many other parts of the world, I've only ever lived here... but if you are on the run during after-school hours due to kids sports and activities, keep reading!
You need to get organized for sports and activities or it will take over your life! I know, it's happened to me!
My first suggestion is to sit down and really evaluate all of the things your kids are involved in. You may have heard of the "over-scheduled" child" or the "hurried child." Does this describe your kids? While I'm not here to advocate reducing your children's activities, I do want to encourage you to really analyze your child's typical day and decide if it makes sense to do so much.Start by making a list of all after school activities that each of your children are enrolled in during a typical school year. Make one list per child like this:
Now, ask yourself if your kids REALLY like doing each of these sports and activities. If they don't, or if they don't enjoy practicing or even worse, don't have TIME to practice, well...maybe eliminating one activity will help them keep up with everything else. Just a thought.
Next, look at the expense of all your children's sports and activities. Add up all the registration costs, uniforms, supplies, instruments, etc. and analyze that. If the total shocks you, well, now you know how quickly it can add up without us even realizing it.
Then, there are always those snacks, end of season gifts and last minute additions that often go unrecorded or unnoticed. Do you really want to be spending this much money on sports and activities? It's okay if you do, I'm just asking you to recognize how much everything is costing.
The goal of performing these analyzing exercises, is to open your eyes. And indeed they may be wide open now. The first step to organizing for sports and activities is to simplify. Elimination of some is one way, car-pooling and coordinating activities into closer locations is another. There are many ways to go about simplifying for sports and activities. But please do try to simplify.
Now I have not yet mentioned YOUR TIME. Think about all the time YOU are spending registering, shopping, driving, watching, cheering, spending, planning, coaching, assisting, looking for and washing uniforms, listening to pratices, answering questions and so forth.
The time committment on your part is staggering even if you only have one child currently doing sports and activities!
If you are extremely busy with your children's after school needs, getting organized will greatly benefit you. How? By eliminating unnecessary repetitive actions, reducing meal stress, finding lost items and refereeing hurried, stressed kids to name a few!
Once you decide who is going to continue doing what, it's time to organize. You can organize your time, your children's basic needs in relation to their sport or activity, their eating requirements and so on. You need one plan per child, one for you and then a family plan.
Don't panic! This is not as tedious as it sounds and once it's done, all you need to do is follow it as much as is realistically possible and maybe tweak it here and there. I will try to keep it simple to follow.
Here's an Example:
(Use a large index card or separate piece of paper for each "profile.")
What: (Name of sport or activity): Swim Team
Registration: June 12
When: (season) August-December
Times: 5pm-7pm Monday through Thursday
Where: The Club
Why: Because she is a good swimmer and loves it!
Cost: $500.00 + Club Membership of $200.00
Additional Costs: Suit, goggles, towel, team bag, meet fees, travel fees, coach appreciation gifts, end of season banquet.
Possible Car Pool: Jamie K., Rich M.
Only use the boldened sub-titles that are appropriate for your children's sports and/or activities and do one for each child and each activity.
Then do one for yourself, taking into consideration what time you have available to allow your children to do all of these things. Note the days you are not available, for instance if you have a weekly class or meeting. You will need to be able to find alternate ways of making all these activities happen on those days.
Finally, take all your notes and enter them (in pencil:) into your Calendar Or Planner. Sit back and decide if everything is possible, give-or-take a few glitches here and there. Tweak and make changes as you see the need.
Returning to your cards, pick and choose from the following organizing tips to help you get organized for sports and activities:
*Put a cooler in your car filled with water and sports drinks. Or keep a cooler stocked and ready for the nights with lots of running to do.
*Have a healthy snack box in the car with such things as granola bars, pretzels and dried fruits. Keep it stocked and ready to go. (If you have the room, a travel cooler and warmer can be nice to have).
*Establish a place for ALL sport uniforms that need timely washing. (See Organize Laundry/Room). Teach your children to put EVERYTHING there EVERYTIME they come home from activities. This will help eliminate that search for one soccer sock or team cap.
*Plan for quick and healthy meals as best as you can to curb further expense and rushing. There are lots of great sites on the internet for quick meals that you can plan for throughout the week. You don't have to settle for ballpark hotdogs for the season!
*Be sure to communicate frequently with anyone else who is involved in driving your children...spouse, older child, car pool, etc.
*Have fold-up chairs and blankets handy for cooler weather.
*Always have a completely stocked first aid kit in the car.
*Make sure your cell phone is charged or that you have a charger in the car.
Get organized For Sports and Activities!