We've got the best tips on how to juggle all your kids' activities without going crazy or broke! It is possible to keep your schedule and wallet in check while still providing your kids with fun opportunities!
We live in a day filled to the brim with possibilities for our kids – soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, swim team, gymnastics, marching band, football, karate….the list could go on and on! And how awesome is it that there is the possibility to learn new things, overcome challenges, stay fit, and have fun? SO awesome, right?!
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But, when little Michael has basketball practice three days a week and and tennis matches every weekend, while little Emily has dance two days a week and karate one day a week, and little Johnny has wrestling on the same days Emily has dance and… AHHH! Things start getting straight up CRAZY! Help!
How To Prioritize Activities And Set Limits
It can be really tempting to do ALL THE THINGS, especially if you have a kiddo that loves to be on the go! When evaluating what activities to have your kids involved in, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Will we still be able to have meals together as a family? Whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, at least one meal together as a family most days of the week is so important!
- What will our weekends look like with this activity added in? Does it match what we want them to look like? If you'd rather spend your weekends taking off to go camping or having mornings to sleep in, that's important to consider!
- Can we realistically afford this? (See below for more!) Don't forget to factor in things like gear or uniforms required, potential travel, etc.
- How will this affect my child(ren)'s ability to do things like homework, chores, and socializing?
There's no right answer to how you answer these questions! The important thing is that you get clear on your family values and time priorities, and then register for activities accordingly.
If you discover that an activity that your kid wants to try DOESN'T fit your priorities, then what?
It's ok to say no. Seriously.
Is it hard when kids are disappointed? Yes, absolutely. But helping them work through that is a valuable life skill!
Also, this might be a great time to teach them to get creative. Is there something they can do to help raise money? Extra chores they can take on so that there is less on your plate (which equals more time for you to drive them around)? Maybe this is a perfect opportunity to work on problem solving skills together.
Use Your Block Schedule Planner To Keep It Organized
Ok, you have kids registered for different things all with their own schedules…now what?!
Keeping track of it all is key, and we can't recommend the block planning method enough! Get yourself a block schedule planner to keep everything written down so you can get it out of your head and keep it straight. Check out this post and video for more info.
Not only that, but help your kids learn how to be responsible for their busy schedules, too! Our Capable Planners will give them the chance to take ownership of their day, and you know we are all about #raisingcapablekids!
For even more in-depth, kick-butt information on how to get more out of your day and be less frazzled doing it, check out our Productivity Boot Camp!
Finding Ways To Save Money On Kids' Activities
In addition to scheduling struggles, most parents feel pretty hard-hit in the wallet when their kids are heavily involved in different activities. The truth is that lessons and uniforms and instruments are not cheap!
First and foremost, it's not worth it to dig yourself into a financial hole in order to have your kids play sports (or dance or play an instrument or whatever it is). Financial security and peace of mind, as well as modeling for your kids how to achieve that for themselves, is worth far more than private lessons will ever be. Keep your priorities in mind!
Ideas For Saving Money On Kid Activities:
- Shop second-hand stores for deals on sports gear. Kids often use things like cleats, shin guards, ballet slippers, etc., for a short time before they grow out of them — leaving them in good condition for another kid! Poshmark can be a great online resource, too.
- Consider recreational leagues as opposed to club sports. Rec leagues are much cheaper and require much less of a time commitment. If your kid is just trying out baseball, there's no point in forking out the money required for a competitive traveling league. The point of sports isn't always to be a star, but simply to be involved!
- Be open to working out trades with other parents. Do you have little ones that are just getting started with an activity? Consider asking a family member or friend who is good at that sport to give them some beginner lessons in exchange for some sort of service you can offer. That might be something like art lessons for their kids, free babysitting, or mowing their lawn once a week.
- Carpool! Not only does it free up time in your schedule, it saves money on gas and car maintenance, too!
Our Budget Boot Camp and Budget Planners can help you prioritize your finances and find ways to afford the things that matter most to you! If you want to have your kids involved in lots of activities, having a solid financial foundation is key!
Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
It takes a village to raise a child, right? Now is the time to rally your village!
Talk to parents of fellow teammates and find a way to set up a carpool. Not only will it save you money, as mentioned above, it frees up so much time in your schedule!
Ask your partner or other family members for help. Does someone else need to get dinner started? Drive the carpool? Answer the team texts? You don't have to do it all. Remember that you function as a family unit, and asking for help so that all family members can be supported is healthy and totally ok!
Are your kids involved in sports or other activities? What have you found to be helpful for managing everything? Share tips in the comments!
Need more tips for busy family life? You're in the right place!
- These easy meal planning ideas will save your sanity and your budget!
- We have the secret methods on how to keep your house clean!
- Learn how to afford things on any income using the 70% rule!
Go team, go!