Most families have hectic morning schedules where it takes a small miracle to get everyone dressed, ready, fed and off to school on time. But that’s just half the battle! Having active students is a blessing, but getting them to their after-school activities can also be difficult for the busy parent. Here time management, organization and planning are essential for success. It’s also a great opportunity for parents to teach their students these valuable life skills. Here are some tips from the experts on how to navigate the quagmire of after-school activities.
The Family Meeting
A successful activity weeks starts with the family meeting. Make it fun by handing out treats or allowances at the end of the meeting. You can also get your students to chair the meeting because being involved will mean they participate and pay attention. Family meetings mean each member of your family stipulates their needs and is aware of other events taking place during the week. Write all the events on a family calendar which is can be seen at a glance. Put this on the back of the door or in the kitchen. Plan how and when each family member with get to their activities.
In addition to the family calendar, you can also utilize phones, computers and diaries to remind students of upcoming events and arrangements.
Network with other parents to minimize your transport needs. Make sure that your student knows who their lift will be on any given day. Networking with other parents can also mean that your students can have study groups with their friends when you are waiting for a sibling to complete an activity.
Activities bags must always be packed the night before so that any missing sports gear can be located and uniforms can be washed and packed. Also plan meals as hungry students are cranky students. Always keep a stash of snacks and drinks in a cooler in the car in case your student misses a meal or needs a little energy. You can also keep fun activities in the car for siblings who are along for the ride. Siblings can also utilize the time to do their homework.
As your students get older, leave more and more of the arrangements up to them. Of course you can oversee their plans and remind them of upcoming events, but making arrangements among themselves will make them feel empowered, involved and more understanding of the needs of others. When you students have made the arrangements for who gets a lift and who gets a ride with you, there may be less dissatisfaction at the outcome. It’s also important to remember that going home signals a wind-down period for most students. This makes it more difficult to get them back on the go. Avoid stopping at home after school and then going out again later.
After school activities can be a challenge, but they are well worth the effort.