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Tips for Managing Too Many After School Activities

May 9, 2008
Are your kids after school activities taking over your life? There is no substitute for extracurricular activities when it comes to building independence and confidence in children. But lately, these activities and sports have taken on a new dimension. Instead of joining for fun, specializing and competition has become the norm. However, parents find it hard to resist the pull because so many of the children do participate and they don't want their own children to be left out or left behind.

As long as the kids are having fun - sports are healthy for them. The strain on an already busy schedule is not.

Here are some parenting tips to help eliminate stress in over scheduled families.

First, it is up to the parent to decide how much time a child has available for afterschool activities. Cost is also a factor and the parent needs to work that into the family budget up front. If you are always rushing to get somewhere, or the sport proves to be too expensive then stress will only mount.

Carpooling is key. Especially considering skyrocketing gas prices. Sharing rides will save time and money. So, why not?

Don't double book activities. Even if practices are back to back, it is best to schedule only one activity on an afternoon. If there is an inevitable conflict then be choosy. Decide to switch off between weeks (i.e.: this week baseball practice, next week soccer, and so forth). Remember that kids get tired and burdening them with such a busy schedule is not healthy.

Grades are important! Make school and homework come first. If the report card is headed south you know that the busy schedule is taking a toll and it is time to ease up.

Sticking to a commitment to a sport or activity is important but skipping one or two practices is ok if your child is tired. As long as it doesn't become a habit, flexibility will go a long way.

Make sure your time is their time. If the afternoon promises to be hectic, try not to add your own activities, errands, or schedule to the mix. Devote your attention to your children. They will appreciate this.

Balance out busy days with slow days. Make sure that there is downtime built into the week.

And finally, enough rest makes for a happier family. Make sure all of you are catching adequate z's.
About the Author
Read more parenting advice about managing extracurricular activites at my site Parenting Tips at NeenMachine.com.
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