I’ve read a ton of articles and blogs this week about getting back into the school routine – the stress of scheduled mornings, packing lunches and getting kids out the door to class.
So for this week’s blog, rather than writing about school, I’ve chosen to write about another fall routine that I find more painful/stressful than packing lunches and making sure we’ve got gym and library days correct.
Planning activities. Scheduling activities. Registering for activities.
People told me a lot of things about parenting and the decisions we would have to make when I was pregnant the first time but nobody ever clued me in to how much was involved in choosing and scheduling extra-curricular activities for your kids. Even crazier is the fact that only two of our three kids are really involved in things (however knowing you have to manage a two-year-old while getting ready for lessons and attending lessons adds another layer in itself).
Choosing activities is interesting because there are so many options available for kids. For us, learning to swim was a no-brainer. We go to a lake every weekend in the summer – the kids need to be safe around water.
Our oldest started Sparks when she was five and we’ve had such an incredibly positive experience with Girl Guides that we’ve continued to make time for it during our week. She is now starting Brownies and our second daughter will be a Spark this year. I love the layer of community-mindedness that Guiding brings to our girls – volunteering and helping others. Our oldest has loved the focus on the outdoors –especially going away to camp and spending time with girls from ages five right up to 16.
My husband felt strongly this year that the kids need to learn to skate. We’ve skated with them but have never had them in actual lessons. Since we live in Cole Harbour, the home of Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, most of the kids we know are already committed to hockey and ringette. Even though we haven’t gone there, it does make sense for the kids to know how to skate (since there’s a strong likelihood they’ll be skating with friends as they get older).
So swimming, Guiding and skating. But wait, the girls have also expressed interests in other things. Our oldest, who loves music and making up songs, asked to take guitar lessons. Her sister, who also loves music, desperately wanted to take dance.
So now we’ve got swimming, Guiding, skating, Highland dancing and guitar lessons. The kids are excited. I worry about being over-scheduled (one thing I promised myself I would never let us be). The registration process for most of these activities is ridiculous – it feels like you’re trying to get tickets to a major concert you know will sell out in minutes – dialing and re-dialing over and over again or constantly hitting refresh until a website will let you in.
With all that being said, I have given in to our fall schedule and am focusing on the fact that the kids each have one sport, one art and one community-oriented activity. Just pray for me in two years when our son joins the mix.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller