Fall Activity Sign-Ups
Now is the time to determine which sports and other after-school activities your kids want to participate in this Fall, and make decisions about which ones are the best fit for your child and your family.
Assess Last Year
If your daughter took piano lessons last year but hated it, making the whole experience a source of stress for you and her, think long and hard before re-committing. The same principle applies to baseball, after-school art, etc. Ask yourself what you hope your child gains from the activity, how well it fits her natural talents and interests, and if it’s really worth it.
If you want your child to experience music but piano was a bust, maybe it’s time to try a different instrument or the school chorus. If your son found baseball boring but you want him to be active, perhaps he could try soccer this year. There are lots of options out there, and finding the best fit just takes a little experimentation sometimes.
Consider the Schedule
This is especially important if you have multiple children. Ask lots of questions about how many practices/rehearsals/classes will be involved, and the days and times of each. Use iMom’s Extracurricular Time Worksheet to chart it all out and see where the logistical challenges lie. Remember: there is a limit to what you or your children can do without completely destroying your chance for a family life at home. Set reasonable limits on the amount of time extra activities can demand and stick to it.
Consider the Expense
Kids’ activities can become a major cash drain for any family, so it’s important to know what the costs will be up front and make sure there’s room in the budget for them. Our Extracurricular Cost Worksheet can help you get a realistic sense of how expensive each activity will be. One sneaky, often unanticipated expense is travel. For instance, if your child’s baseball team plans to play in four major out-of-town tournaments, you’ll need to figure the cost for gas, lodging, meals out, etc. If your daughter’s twice-weekly horseback riding lessons are 30 minutes from your home, figure the mileage back and forth each trip.
Count the Cost
This time, we don’t mean money. It’s the cost in terms of time and energy your child—and family—will trade for the activities. You know how your child sometimes has “eyes bigger than his tummy” at the table, heaping his plate with more than he can possibly eat? They’re prone to do the same thing with their schedules. It’s your job as a parent to think it through and protect your child from extracurricular activity overload. Time is the most precious resource our families have. Spend it wisely!
What extracurricular activities have your kids explored?