How do you prevent overscheduling???

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Registered: 03-26-2003
How do you prevent overscheduling???
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Wed, 05-14-2003 - 4:19pm
I have trying to limit my eldest son, Zak (6), to one activity at a time. DH wanted to coach soccer for the Spring League so Zak played soccer. He also wanted to play T-Ball and they overlap for two weeks. No big deal, I thought. We can handle it. Wrong. I am exhausted.

This week Zak's schedule looks like this: Monday-nothing, Tuesday-Soccer pratice at 5:15 (which we skipped) and T-ball pratice at 6:00, Wednesday-nothing, Thursday-Gilda's Club (a cancer support group which he goes every week), Friday-T-Ball scrimmage at 6:00, Saturday-Soccer game at 9:00, kindergarten pinic at 11 and T-Ball scrimmage at 12:45 (which he is going to miss). When did my 6 year old's life get busier than mine?

The T-Ball coach is really nice but way into praticing. Plus, the team is huge-16 kids! Last night, they praticed from 6-7:30. I had to chase my 19 month old around endlessly-he managed to touch a cactus, run in a mud puddle and run into the neighbor's yard. I was so busy chasing Alex that I did not even realize that Zak got hit in the head until another parent told me. We did not get home until 8:00 at night and the kids and I were worn out. DH would have helped but he had soccer pratice and yard work to do. I don't know if I should say something to the coach or just keep quiet. Zak enjoys T-Ball and has never complained about pratice.

When soccer is over, we have swim lessons and my MIL wants to give him horseback lessons. In August, I want him to do boyscouts. I would love for him to take music lessons but when is there time? I have trying so hard not to overschedule my children. I want them to have unscheduled free time but I also want them to do activities they enjoy. How do other people balance this? Help!!

Sorry this is so long. I am just so frustrated!!

Kristi

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 4:59pm
I have struggled with this, as I believe that extra-curriculars are very important. However, with two kids...it gets busy.

One thing I insist on is music lessons. I don't care what kind of lessons it is, but I do insist on music of some kind. Daughter has a love of piano, and started the week she turned 5. DS has always wanted to play drums, but they don't start them until 7 or 8, so he has decided he wants to play piano (like sister) until then. He will start this August, after he turns 5 the last week of July. DDs lesson is 45 minutes, DSs will be 30 minutes the first year. They will be back to back, which will help.

But sports is where a big issue comes in. When DD played t-ball, it was insane! 2 practices (at least) per week, and 2-3 games. She was FOUR! For many reasons, we did not finish that season. Soccer wasn't that big a deal except I was coaching, and the parents on the team were flakes! there was one game per week and one-two practices. The biggest problem was it was supposed to be non-competitive, so I structured my team that way. We had fun practices, where the skills were learned through different "games" we played. The practices were also shorter 30-45 minutes 1-2 times per week, in order to keep the attention of the 4 year olds. But the league didn't really structure games that way, and I think a lot of parents were put off by that.

What we have decided to do to fix the issue of sports (because I do believe they are important, and the kids WANT to play them) is to join the local YMCA. The kids start t-ball next week. It takes up two evenings of our time....Mondays and Thursdays for an hour to an hour and a half each night. The rest of this month, they will practice, the month of June, they will have games. Then it is OVER! I think that is perfect. They are so young, all they are wanting is to have fun and all they are needing is to START learning the skills. The Y does basically the same thing with soccer and basketball.

DD did girl scouts this year, which wasn't a big deal. it was a meeting one night every other week, for an hour. The cookies were the biggest deal, but that was b/c I was cookie mom.

So, this is what we are doing this year:

We are going to do music lessons for one day after school per week. I will schedule them so that we can head there directly after school. While one is having the lesson, the other one and I will read or play in the yard or whatever.

The kids are going to continue swimming lessons at the YMCA on Saturdays. They really enjoy them, and it is great exercise, and at the same time, I either do a water aerobics class or work out in the gym, so it isn't a waste of my time sitting there reading (lol...not that there is anything wrong with that).

The kids can participate in whichever sport is in season at the Y, as they only take up 2 nights a week, regardless of what sport it is. However, the sport cannot overlap with any other activity they have.

DD wants to take cheerleading and dance classes. I told her this was fine IF we could get the classes scheduled properly.

And DS wants to do boyscouts. Same goes for him wit the scheduling.

My one thing is that we MUST have at least one night free, other than Sunday. That is our night to go out as a family and skate, play putt putt, go bowling or whatever.

Now, I will say that if DH and I were both WOH FT, the kids would not be able to participate in as much. By at least one of us being home, we can schedule a lot of things during the hours right after school. If both of us weren't getting off until 5pm (or later) each night, and then had to run around, figure out something for dinner, get the kids bathed and in bed, then worry about housework, well...I just wouldn't do it. That's one of the biggest reasons DH and I feel so strongly about having a SAHP.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

Avatar for 1969jets
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 5:31pm
We let each child pick ONE activity at a time. One activity plus school and Hebrew school is plenty. They can't do everything and we don't allow it. Period. For the fall my oldest will play football, my middle hockey. The end. No boy scouts, no swimming lessons, no ceramics classes, no art lessons, no music lessons. We let them pick, but they just simply are not allowed to do everything.

Football is 4 practices a week and a game on Saturday. Hockey is likely to be 3 practices a week plus a game. That's enough for a 2nd and 4th grader. In order to learn something they have to be able to commit to it so we allow them to totally commit to ONE THING.

Jenna

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Registered: 01-25-2000
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 8:00pm
This is a tough one. First though I have to say --AN HOUR AND A HALF practice for a six year old!?! That in and of it's self is too much! I would definitely say something to the coach. Two years ago my kids played t-ball and soccer, last year just soccer. Practice for the kids under 8yo was NEVER longer than 45min.

Okay, now that i got that off my chest....

My kids are still pretty little, so this is mostly theory at this point. I have a 6yo dd, 5yo ds, 14mo ds and #4 (we believe a dd) is due in Jan. Our PLAN is to limit their activities to just one a season. That said, it can still get crazy, as our church activities are a given, regardless of what other activities the kids participate in. Also, for us right now, between dh and I, WE have something every night of the week, though when dh is done with school in June, that will change (a welcome change for all of us).

Personally, scouts fall pretty low on the priority list. For us, church activities come first, then school, then acedemic/physical (music/sports), then social (scouts). Of course, I see social benefits to all of the other activities as well, which is why scouts is so far down the list. When schedules conflict, we consider the length of time each activity is, how often each activity meets, the financial consequences, and the over all consequences for the child, the family and the *team*, to determine what will be dropped and what will be kept.

So I guess at any given time, it's a matter of prioritizing the activities, getting rid of the ones that are the least beneficial (or the most hassle) and realizing that *busy* seasons don't last forever. It's a constant juggling act! lol

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Registered: 11-22-2000
Thu, 05-15-2003 - 8:13am
I've had a problem with this, too. My son is disabled, and I've always tried hard to get him involved in activities that give him a lot of the physical activity that he misses out on on a day-to-day basis.

Last year, though, he was doing challenger league baseball on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, and taking one-on-one swim classes on Saturday afternoons. Aside from the fact that he was missing a lot of fun time with his teammates after the game (they're all disabled and a lot of them don't get to do things with "buddies" like typical kids do, so the parents encourage this after time for them to do stuff together) but by the time we were done with swimming, *I* was exhausted! Swim classes go on year-round, so I decided to let that go during baseball season. It's still hard keeping up with the baseball schedule, but it's much better than trying to do both at practically the same time.

The only thing I can suggest is to see if there is a way that you can compromise so that everything's not happening together. I know it's not always possible but if you can, you'll find that it's much easier. And remember that we don't have to do all these things RIGHT NOW. If it's possible to do one activity now and another next season or next year, you'll be much saner.


Avatar for mjdphd
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-15-2003 - 9:16am
LOL you are just starting. Just try managing 4 children and things really get hairy. As they get older things just get harder in some ways but easier in others. When my oldest was in kindergarten, he started playing soccer. Our whole family used to go to all of the practices and games. I dragged along another child, a toddler, and an infant. That was in the fall. In the winter, he tried basketball, and in the spring he played T-ball. Luckily, there was only one sport per season and it had a definite end. I only had one child involved then. When my daughter reached K, she started playing soccer also. Now, each of them had two practices a week and games on Saturdays. Dh and I had to split up and I didn't get to all of my son's games because they often overlapped with my daughter's. However, after a couple of seasons, my oldest discovered that he didn't like the team sports much and dropped out. My daughter started gymnastics and dropped soccer.

When they were little, I really only had them signed up for one sport or activitiy at a time. Not only did they not have the time for it, I didn't have the time to shuttle all of them around to everything. Part of the problem comes when they are older and they discover what they are good at and what they like to do best. My oldest finally settled on karate which he does twice a week. My daughter turned out to be very good at gymnastics and is now competing. She practices about 18 hours per week and had meets during the season. However, at that level, I don't have to stay for the 4 hours practices. I also carpool. I drop off and another mother picks up. My second daughter did gymnastics for a while, discovered she didn't like it much, and did cheerleading this year. That had two practices a week, a tumbling class and competitions. Now that it is over, she takes horsebackriding. My youngest played soccer in the fall and just doesn't want to do anything right now.

While each of them have only one activity, because I have four kids, it is really harder on me because I have to shuttle them all around. I get home earlier than dh and have a more flexible schedule. I noticed that you had two days where you had nothing. I go every day of the week.

To answer your question, when they are young, let them try a variety of activites. Eventually, they will show a preference for one (maybe two). Let them continue in the one that they like the best. AS they get better in one thing, it is going to take up more time. It gets easier when you don't have to stay for everything either.

I remember this one family. They had two boys. In the spring, they both played soccer and baseball. Both of these sports entailed two practices a week plus games on weekends. They also swam 3 days a week. I used to see the parents meeting up, trading kids, and going off again. Just remember, you can't do everything.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-15-2003 - 10:12am
I have been thinking alot of having a 3rd child and then I think am I crazy? I will have 3 children in seperate leagues and all that running around will drive me crazy. I don't know what we will do when Alex starts sports. I guess trade off like other parents do.

I do try to keep some days free. We do not do any activities on Sunday because I want one family day and I try to keep a weeknight free. It is just hard to say no to something he wants to do. I would not let him do gymnastics until the fall. I might also let him take basketball.

I see my future and it is revovled around sports. I will have a folding chair, a cooler and a blanket in my car to use for all the games and I willl be rushing around like a headless chicken. I am sure I will love every moment of it (except when it is drizzling or when it is freezing)

Kristi

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

Avatar for laurenmom2boys
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 05-15-2003 - 10:33am
We limit our kids to one sport per season and one other activity, which happens to be Cub Scouts. When you have more than one child it can get hairy.

Sounds like you have a busy couple weeks, but after the overlap in the sports, things should settle down for you. There were times when both our boys were in LL but on different teams (t-ball and minors) and we were at the LL field every single night with either games or practice. Thankfully, they are now on the same team and they both go to practice and games together. Now if I could just figure out how to get the two of them in the same Cub Scout den (won't happen - different ages/grades in school are different dens).

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-15-2003 - 11:04am
Lauren-Do the boys like Cub Scouts? My step mother works for the Boy Scouts so there is a little family pressure to put him in it but I also want to. I am hoping my DH feels well enough to participate with him. I think it would be great bonding for them.

Kristi

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

Avatar for laurenmom2boys
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 05-15-2003 - 11:35am
Yes, they do. I'm my younger son's Den Leader and am also the Cub Master. My older son is a 1st year Webelo, my younger son is a Bear. I'm trying to recruit one of the dad's of a boy who will be in my den next year to be the Den Leader. He's an EMT and he has lots of experience with camping and hiking and I'd really like my den to have him as their leader next year. I think how well the boys enjoy scouting is directly related to how imaginative and active their Leader is. Everyone this year says that I did a great job, but I think I could have done better. It can be exhausting dealing with 8 8-9 year olds and I just got *WORN OUT*!! LOL!
Avatar for mjdphd
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-15-2003 - 12:33pm
You'll like being a sports mom but you will have to get used to the idea of being busy, especially if your children get good at anything. Here, the kids who play rec soccer have a pretty good schedule. The kids who make it to travel soccer are far busier and the parents have to drive more for games (and the uniforms are more expensive). My neighbor made it to the playoffs in baseball last summer. The parents were going to games through August when the regular season ended in June. Kid who are in rec gymnastics will go one, maybe two, hours a week. The kids who are in competitive gymnastics will be at the gym at lot more (my daughter at level 5 practiced 10 hours a week, at level 8 is now doing 20 hours a week). Then there are the competitions.

I do love watching my kids compete. Being busy has just become a way of life. But, it cycles. During the "seasons" things can be hectic, but they calm down at other times. Having more than one child will often mean that you have to miss something that one child does. I do a lot of videotaping.

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