Creative Child

5 Tips for Juggling Extracurricular Activities When You Have a Large Family

by Sarah Lyons

School mornings are busy, but an experienced mom knows the real rush is after school when the evening is packed with extracurricular activities. One child has scouts, another has piano lessons, and two have soccer practice on opposite sides of town. As a mom of six, I have somehow survived chaotic weeks full of errands, projects, and extracurricular activities. Whether you have two or ten kids, here are some tips from a mom with a busy family.

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1. Limit activities.

The best way to keep your calendar from getting too full is not to fill it. Try cutting back on the activities you allow your child to sign up for. Allowing kids only one sport per season can reduce time spent at practice. However, sports aren’t the only activity that can take up a lot of time. Theater, music, scouts, and dance can also fill your free time. If your child has interests in both sports and the arts try allowing one sport and one other activity at a time. Limiting activities will leave more time for rest and time at home.

2. Tag team.

When multiple kids’ activities conflict with each other, split the duties with your partner or even family friends, if possible. Have one parent take a child to a birthday party while the other attends the ball game for another child. Use the help of others, particularly for practices and rehearsals. Set up a carpool with other families and take turns giving kids rides to and from to limit your time in the car. Don’t feel guilty if you cannot be at every single event. If you miss one here or there, you can attend next time. Your child will not remember if you were at every game, just that you made the effort to be there the majority of the time.

3. Have a command center.

A carefully maintained family calendar is key to keeping everyone organized and where they need to be on time. Some families like to have a large calendar in a central location in the home, like a command center. Others like to use technology to track their comings and goings. The important part is that it is accurate and up-to-date. Check out Pinterest for family command center inspiration.

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4. Make room for your down time.

Having time for rest and relaxation is necessary to recharge and reconnect, and families who are constantly on the go need to be deliberate when planning down time. You might find it helpful to schedule family time on you command center master calendar so that the time doesn’t get filled up with other activities. 

5. Plan ahead.

Once you have narrowed your activities and your calendar is set, the best way to survive those hectic days is to plan ahead as much as possible. Pan easy on-the-go meals and snacks. Freezer meals, crock pot recipes, and simple weeknight dinners that are prepped and prepared ahead of time will save you a lot of worry about getting your family properly fed and out of the house on time. Pack up as many items as possible the night before so that you are not rushing around at the last minute trying to locate lost shoes and sports gear.

There are many benefits to participating in extracurricular activities, but overdoing it can cancel out many of them. Choose activities that your children truly enjoy, and make sure there is still room for some family downtime, too.

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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