Tips to organizing extracurricular activities with a large family
For most families, free time seems like a non-existent commodity. Every family member keeps their own agenda of work, school and extracurricular activities. With so much going on every week, it’s easy to feel disorganized. It’s also common to feel like life is a rat race that has everyone running from one commitment to the next without allowing for family time.
That’s why having a family schedule is so important. Even large families with several active kids can find that they are set free by knowing what’s scheduled in advance. This lets everyone feel prepared, organized and on top of things. It’s also a great way to make certain that everyone is available for certain family events.
Get a Calendar
The format of the calendar doesn’t really matter. You can print calendar pages from the Internet, purchase a large wall calendar at the store or get a white board. Regardless, the calendar should be placed in a centralized location in the home. For many families, the kitchen is the best place to put the family calendar. Everyone goes in there multiple times a day, so it’s easy to take a glance at the calendar to see what’s coming up.
Assign Each Family Member a Color
Purchase colored pens or pencils and assign one of these colors to each family member. If your children are old enough, they can be responsible for putting their own reminders on the calendar. If not, then you can write in the information yourself, using the appropriate color.
Call a Family Meeting
Arrange a weekly family meeting time where everyone sits down with the calendar to discuss the upcoming week. This is the perfect opportunity to make any necessary corrections or changes to the calendar and to talk about logistics. Most often, Sunday is a sensible day to have the meeting. Sundays tend to have fewer extracurricular activities happening, making it easier to gather as a family for half an hour. At the meeting, you should talk not just about what is on the schedule, but how each family member will arrive and depart from their various activities. Is another family making certain your son gets to soccer practice this week? Does someone need to pick up your daughter from her dance class? A little preparation on Sunday prevents a multitude of stressful circumstances during the week.
Consider Giving Each Family Member a Calendar
In addition to the family calendar, think about providing each family member with their own calendar. This would include pertinent information from the family calendar for that person, but it can also include other useful hints. Kids can use their personal calendar to keep track of the chores they must do each day. They can even include notes about their homework. Keep these calendars in a central location as well. In fact, they can probably be kept alongside the family calendar so that they are easy to refer to during the week.
Preparing the Night Before
Most families follow a set of nightly rituals that might include homework, baths and teeth brushing. Add checking the calendar into that nightly ritual. If kids are old enough, you can make it their responsibility to put together clothes they will wear the next day along with the equipment and uniforms they will need for extracurricular activities. A few minutes of preparation in the evening can prevent rushed, stressful mornings in which nothing seems to go right. Have bags for school and other activities packed and ready to go the night before, and you probably won’t have to deal with a frenzied rush in the morning.
Schedule Family Time
In a large family where everyone is engaged in multiple activities, sometimes it’s difficult to feel like there is any time just to be together as a family. When you spot some open time on the calendar, fill it up with a family picnic or a mini-golf outing. Make it clear that this is probably the most important event on the family calendar and that everyone should refrain from making alternative plans. This will foster family closeness, and give you all something fun and relaxing to anticipate.
Alex Hudson is a technical advocate writing on a variety of topics including: product reviews, Camcode barcode labels, and business decisions.
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