Extra-curricular activities without stress
How long does it take to organize your children “agenda”?
Today, I have decided to calculate the time it takes me every Monday to plan and synchronize my children extra-curricular activities with the father’s and my own schedule.
8:30 I place my watch on the desk.
8:31 I switch on the computer, leaf through my calendar, place the children schedules, select “weekly schedule” and start by filling in the dates – here I’m gaining momentum for the “one-hundred meter race”.
8:33 I fill in the blank spaces with the beginning and end of classes.
8:40 Distribution of all extra-curricular activities: ballet, water polo, musical instrument, swimming, and Scouts.
8:46 I organize the circuit of car lifts for school-activities-home.
8:50 Calls to grandmother and father – confirm week rides.
9:18 Task finished.
Planning is a plus, it’s to do without potential disorganization, it’s organizing my time, it is a personal strategy to overcome the daily stress.
Extra-curricular activities are decided at home according to the children preferences, number per week (twice, at the most), parents and sometimes grandparents’ availability, the distance home-school. Proximity is precious, it diminishes the time spent and the stress between trips.
I confess, it takes a lot of energy and mostly calmness from us, parents, not to go crazy in the heroic daily exercise of managing that our children get to their destinations on time.
Are we crazy in accepting this running around? Maybe.
Why do I invest in extra-curricular activities and motivate my children to attend them?
It is to give them the opportunity of exploring areas and materials which they cannot access at school or at home. As parents, we want them to acquire qualities such as perseverance, discipline, cooperation, and learn norms of conduct and values.
Do we like to attend tournaments, gymnastic shows, concerts, presentations, and others?
To feel the good pride that fills us up, be it a mother, father, grandmother, uncle or godmother.
Their expression of happiness when they spot us in the audience is worth it by itself.
To reinforce the kids confidence for having achieved a goal.
“SOMETIMES”, it happens…
To attend the games, whether it rains or shines… waiting for hours to see a short performance, or sitting on the swimming benches pouring sweat because it’s so hot we could fry an egg.
What to do with my time while I wait for the activity to end?
It is an excellent pause, it’s enough to turn off the ‘complicatemeter’ from the mode “so much I have to do and here I am sitting down”.
I take that time to catch up with my reading and, above all, to socialize, to chat.
Conversation between parents, grandparents or aunts are almost always comforting and often “therapeutic”. We always reach the same conclusion:
“We are all always running around”.
Then, we realize that the worries and the doubts are same or similar: Complaints about excessive exhaustion, excessive working hours, lack of time, the unprepared dinner, the maid who missed work without warning, a lot of homework. The time wasted in traffic. The diseases, the tantrums, the work still waiting after the children go to bed.
We follow the growth of our dear ones and also the one of their activity small colleagues.
From this experience exchange new strategies appear to help balance the daily life, and sometimes and unexpectedly, life-long friendships.
However, I remind myself constantly, if the bustling of extra-curricular activities start interfering with my “mental tranquility” and subsequently, with everybody’s at home, they will be put in stand by for as long as necessary.