There is no shortage of activities for school-aged children today. Whether it be academics, sports, music, art, or robotics, the number of activities children can engage in today is not only impressive but can be overwhelming. Until your children can drive, and often beyond, parents are on the hook for transport and financing. Here are some things to consider when you have children wanting to participate in multiple activities after school and may even take up your weekends.
All parents want their children to have every opportunity to try new things and find things they are passionate about. Most parents initially throw every opportunity to see if they enjoy sports, music, academic clubs, ROTC, or something else. Every child is unique, and most find at least one thing they want to be involved in after school. Working in teams and being part of a club can add value to the school experience, but children should never be forced, and that is one of the things to consider. Balance must be maintained in your children’s lives and in your family and work life to keep things running smoothly. Of course, parenting multiple children in multiple activities is exhausting, but when thought out, it can be enriching.
Four Things to Consider Before Signing Up
Cost – It seems odd to start with cost, but many families with multiple children in multiple activities find themselves covering costs they never thought about ahead of time. On top of dues or booster club fees, parents must consider travel costs, tournament fees, equipment, and other expenses. A good tip is to take the overall cost, divide it by 12, and add it to your monthly budget. Most parents are shocked at the investment!
Consider why your child wants to try an activity – once you figure this out, which involves talking with them, their reasoning can help determine if their level of commitment matches what yours will be by signing up. This is an excellent time to make sure that the activity they want to try has nothing to do with your interest but only theirs. If your child is doing it to please you or because they think you want them to, skip it.
Don’t Overschedule Your Children – There are only so many hours a day and days a week. Think about how much time there is for extra activities after academics. When you sign up, know the weekly commitment and any other weekends or schedules you need to work around. Don’t take time away from their development, social, and family time. Also, don’t take time away from your work and your relationships. Children and parents need balance, and it is up to parents to ensure this occurs for everyone’s well-being.
Stay Open-Minded – If your child has little athletic ability or shows promise in skill without training, parents need to be prepared to accept either. Do not force sports onto a child who wants to play the drums or join ROTC. If they show potential, and you want them to have the opportunity to grow in skills, enrolling them in private lessons is an option, albeit a pricey one.
Athletics in High School
Even if your child has never played sports before they get to schools that offer organized sports, they can try out for a variety of athletic teams, including Lacrosse, volleyball, basketball, football, track, swimming, tennis, wrestling, and more. If your child played sports before entering a school that offered organized sports, you may find they want to try something new, and this should be encouraged as long as you have thought about the commitment each requires.
Regardless, this season gains momentum in all activities when you have multiple children involved in numerous activities. It is strongly encouraged to have some forethought on how to manage the interests, activities, commitments, and transportation before jumping in with both feet to every whim. One critical part of getting children involved is cost. Even if a sport is offered for free at school, equipment is often necessary, and sometimes, if a child is very excited about it, you may want to provide them with private lessons.
When it comes to busy families and children wanting to do multiple things, keep your head above water by thinking about a few things before signing up. Everything requires time and investment, whether in school, after school, or at another facility. Another thing that can help decide what is best is ensuring you are on the same page as your spouse. Sometimes, families have one spouse who grew up an athlete and another who never played a sport. This can cause a division of what is reasonable as far as commitment. Have this discussion early, and this can help keep the balance. If you want an activity consistent in cost, convenience, and availability, visit SwiftKick Martial Arts studio for a thoughtful martial arts training program. Focused on families, the SwiftKick programs are designed for children of all ages. They are great workouts and teach life skills to young children and teens!