I think fear often dictates how much we fill our kids' days.We're so afraid that our kids will miss opportunities, or miss something critical in their development, or miss something that we enjoyed or missed in our own childhoods. So we schedule them all sorts of lessons and activities. We think they need to learn dance, an instrument, scouting, 4-H, horseback riding, soccer, baseball, youth group, Awana, etc. Kids come home after the stress of performing well at school and then they have to turn around and go out again for a lesson or activity. Dinner is either on the road or a graze and grab from the fridge.
Now, any one of those activities would be awesome to do, but it's the quantity that stresses their lives, and ours too as we have to not only be taxi driver but participate in those activities ourselves as scoutmaster, 4-H leader, soccer coach, Awana volunteer, etc. So the craziness of our week is felt by everyone in the family.
Then comes the inevitable scheduling nightmare - when all the activities have an event on the same day. What do you do when one kid has a concert and the other has a baseball game on the same night? Or how about when the same kid has 2 or more events on the same evening? Yikes - which do you choose?
When I see families constantly on the go I want to cry out, "Stop and smell the roses!" Seriously...life goes by fast enough. Making yourself crazy hurts your marriage as you and your spouse have very little time together. It hurts your family, as there isn't room for dinner or conversation, nor is there time to play games or read books. Any benefit from the activity is overshadowed by the problems it all creates.
So LIMITIZE your activities. First, limit the number of activities each child can choose. Even church activities should be limited. I would suggest that you should only allow each child 1 or 2 activities a week. You know that when you multiply that number by the number of kids you have that equals a lot of evenings out! Consider keeping three nights a week completely open where no one has anything scheduled on those evenings. As much as possible encourage all of your kids to choose the same activities so the taxi only has to go to one place.
Secondly, prioritize the most important things in the schedule. This will help dictate how much you get involved in something. For example, if your church is a high priority, then any activities that take your child away from Sunday morning worship should not be considered. Teach your children honesty and commitment by encouraging them to stick with something. If they choose to be part of a children's choir, for example, and a birthday party comes along on the evening of practice the commitment to the choir should take precedence. Agreeing to participate in any scheduled activity is a promise that you and your child will attend regularly. So look at the schedule long term to see if there would be any schedule conflicts down the road, before you make such a commitment. I've spoken to several employers that can't count on young adults to actually show up at the job site on time, or even at all and I think it's because they think that the world revolves around their whims.
Let's raise kids who can be counted on to work
hard and do their best.
And now for a refashion....
A little creativity with those seashells I picked up from the beach in Florida this past winter turns into very fun jewelry:
I fell in love with the pieces of sand dollar. So I sanded off the sharp edges.
Sand dollars have natural holes, so I looped a piece of lace through it, and wah-lah, a beautiful necklace to stand out on an appropriate background.