This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, MARS. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetSquad #TryALittleGoodness
Is your child’s after school schedule insane?
With all the testing, homework and not to mention after-school clubs and activities, many children seemed to be booked from sunrise until way into the night.
Are all these activities necessary? No.
But we as adults struggle with the same problems. With SO many possibilities and SO many choices and opportunities, it’s no wonder kids want to do it all and are afraid of missing out!
That’s why it’s important NOW that we teach them to prioritize.
In this post, I’ll guide you through
- Teaching your child how to set a long-term goal
- Guiding on how to prioritize commitments
- and laying it all out so your child can decided what to do and what to give up
The problem with the packed after school schedule
In my personal and professional life, I have a very hard time saying “NO” when someone asks me to do something. Whether it’s getting involved in a project or going on a playdate, “NO” is not something that I often to say to other adults.
Which IS an issue.
Many people have this problem. We’re afraid of missing out. Maybe, we don’t want to upset a friend or have someone think ill of us. Whatever the reasons, it can be toxic.
Sometimes we don’t know we have this problem until we see it manifest in our children.
My daughter wants to do EVERYTHING.
This year, she has an after school activity pretty much every day of the week: Spanish club, piano, 2 evenings of dance, running club and Girl Scouts. Add to that homework, school and family time and there is little left in the day.
For any of us.
Because if one family member commits to a grueling schedule, it affects the entire family. If it were just activities at school, OK. But most of these require drive time with me behind the wheel.
It’s time to teach how to prioritize. Not only will it lessen our schedules as parents, but it also teaches kids a skill they can use the rest of their lives.
It’s about to get real.
But first, we need food.
After you set a realistic after school schedule, it’s still going to be busy. I always like to keep a snack with me in the car as I shuttle my daughter from activity to activity.
The goodnessknows® snack squares are perfect for this since they’re made with dark chocolate, real fruit and whole nuts in bite-size portions. And you know what a mood lifter chocolate can be!
I found these near the registers in my local Walmart.
Ready to start prioritizing? First, you need to:
Determine a long-term goal
As adults, we tend to make goal setting extremely complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is ask your child:
What big thing do you want to do this year?
To which they’ll respond,
“What do you mean?”
Easy question, but many kids aren’t used to setting goals. Neither are adults.
That’s when we give examples. Maybe it’s a skill your child wants to learn: like the splits in dance or doing a cartwheel. Maybe it’s having more fun with friends. It really depends on the individual kid and what makes them happy.
- Make one academic goal. This can be as simple as “Finish school year with A’s & B’s” or maybe a specific skill your child wants to learn such as “Master double-digit multiplication”.
- Make one personal fun goal, such as “I want to perform in dance.”
- Make one skill oriented goal. For example, I want to want to run a mile in running club under 10 minutes.
List the Commitments
Now is when we get real.
As parents, we can explain to our children that they don’t have enough time to do EVERYTHING. But it works better if we let them discover this themselves.
This means less work for us in the long run because,
- we’ll spend less time explaining our decision to limit activities
- our kids will learn about the constraints of time
Now we list everything.
Write down every little event where your child wants to commit her time. This includes:
- after school clubs
- practice time needed for lessons (i.e. piano practice)
- homework time
- church activities
Rank the commitments
Starting with the number 1, have your child rank how important each commitment is to accomplishing her goals. Start with whichever goal is most important to your family.
Keeping up with school is the number one priority in our house, so I guided my daughter to rank school and homework as numbers 1 and 2.
Assign each commitment a number and then…
Schedule The Time
Start blocking off time in the calendar.
First, start with school hours and color in those blocks.
Next, consult the list your child made and block out #2 on that list. For us, this was homework. However, homework doesn’t need to be done at a specific time each day and we can place it in depending on the schedule.
Now, place #3 on the weekly schedule and progress through until everything is listed on the calendar. She may realize halfway through exactly how busy she will be if she commits to everything.
Analyze the calendar
How full is your child’s week? Ask her:
- Does she have time to eat dinner?
- When does she have time to relax?
- When do YOU have time to relax?
- When does the family have time to be together?
- How much down-time will she have before bedtime?
These are all important components of a balanced and happy life. Many times, our culture tends to devalue these activities and focus more on drive, work ethic and the pressure to succeed. Creativity happens only after the brain has time to rest and recharge.
Based on these answers, you can both start to re-evaluate the commitments.
If the calendar looks too packed, it’s time to give up the activities that your child ranked as less important to achieving her goals.
This can be hard, but after seeing it all on paper, your child will be more likely to agree that her schedule is too much.
Time to Go For It!
With a reasonable schedule in place, you family will feel more at peace and less stressed. While life can be busy, it shouldn’t make you want to tear your hair out.
This goal setting activity is the perfect way to begin the new school year. When we make goals and PLAN to accomplish them, not only do we succeed but we feel less anxious. We now know the value of our time and where our focus lies.
The earlier we teach kids how to prioritize and what they need to say NO to, the better they will be able to manage their own stress.
Want more inspiration for managing your hectic life? Click here.