Managing the family’s schedule is like a finely tuned offense. Everyone involved has to do his or her part to ensure that everyone executes his or her part with precision like the Golden State Warriors playbook or scheduling can become stressful, overwhelming and unmanageable. At times, it can be daunting especially when you factor in all of the activities of the entire family.
My wife and I have to balance the kids’ activities that includes chess club, MESA club, year-round baseball, swimming, and music lessons. We also have to factor in their homework, self-enrichment (additional practice, reading, and studying) and personal entertainment. As Washington National half-season plan holders, we also have to work those games into our schedule as well as other miscellaneous activities. In addition, my wife and I have to make time for ourselves as well.
To alleviate most of the stress, there are five things you need when it comes to managing the family schedule and activities.
You need a coordinator. Having a coordinator is extremely important because you do not want to over schedule activities. My wife is the coordinator and she knows where everyone needs to be and when. She knows our daily activities like the back of her hand and she does not let anything slip through the cracks. Without her, everything we do would crumble to the ground like an imploded stadium. The key is to have one person in control of the schedule to avoid having too many hands in the cookie jar.
You need a runner. In many instances, the runner and the coordinator is the same person. For example, single parent households or stay-at-home parents have been acting as the coordinator and the runner for ages. In my house, I serve as the runner and I am responsible for getting the family to all of our destinations. My work schedule affords me the ability to get the kids to their activities, during school hours or afterschool. My wife tells me where I need to be and I show up on time with a big smile on my face.
You need participants. I am not referring to the child or the individual that is in the activity. I referring to the individuals that are not associated with the activity. I see so many parents drop their kids off and leave, opposed to attending the concert or watching baseball practice as if it is a burden on the parent. How about helping your little slugger warm up his arm prior to practice. Here is a novel approach; why not stay and watch the actual performance of your child or support the club they are in. I am an assistant coach on my son’s baseball team and my wife brings snacks and drinks to games. She also works in the concession stand during games at times. If you participate, the activities on the schedule will be something you will look forward to doing instead of dreading the activity.
You need to make it fun. There are times when my boys would rather stay home because sometimes the grind of the schedule gets to them, but I do my best to try to make every activity fun and rewarding. If they have a great music session, I will let them choose our dinner destination. If my son performs well during a game, I will let him choose a fun activity for the weekend like Dave and Busters or bowling. It is also important to get everyone’s feedback and opinion because there might be ways to improve the activity to make it better. And in some instances, there may not be any interest at all in which case you may need to avoid the activity all together.
You need a calendar. There is no way I can keep up with all of the activities on the family schedule so I know my boys are unable to. A calendar is pertinent, but equally important is a smart phone and smart home devices. Smart phones and smart home devices provide constant reminders and they keep the entire family connected.
Adhering to these keys has allowed my family to control our schedule opposed to the schedule controlling us.