The subject children's activities comes up often in my discussions with people about balancing work and family. We talk about how hard it is to coordinate schedules, get kids fed and where they're supposed to be, and get out of work in time to play chauffeur.
Dr. Gaby Cora, a board certified psychiatrist, medical doctor, wellness coach, mom, spouse and author of Leading Under Pressure has some advice on this topic. Her private practice in Miami specializes in helping people maximize their health while building their wealth.
Dr. Cora agreed to write about this issue for my blog. Following is what she said.
Here we are again, beginning a new school year. As school starts, many working parents feel like they are about to burn out just thinking about planning and implementing after school activities for their children. While many parents are looking forward to their children going back to school, others dread the hectic schedules they have coordinated for their children to be successful.
Many working mothers with a full work schedule often undertake this task, although some dads do this too – run all over the city, picking up and dropping their kids at tutoring classes, tennis lessons, dance classes, soccer activities and so on until they feel completely exhausted by the end of the day. Many end up having a quick bite in the car as they have no time to stop and eat. Some parents will go back to work and many will stop their own exercise activities as they get busy with the kids. In addition to this, after a full day at work and going back and forth, homework time becomes a nightmare, with parents scrambling to get whatever is needed for a science project or just plainly policing their homework.
It is clear the increasing pressures all of us experience in the workplace are also experienced in the homeplace.
What can we do to effectively manage our time and coordinate our children’s activities?
1) Plan ahead: it will be helpful if you have an overall plan in place. What is your work schedule like? Do you work extra time? What is your child’s school schedule? Can you collaborate with your partner or another parent to carpool?
2) If you are feeling pressure, remember your child may be experiencing pressure too: if you feel like you are running out of breath, realize your child needs resting time too. Allow your child to have some recreational times as well as to develop good sleeping habits.
3) Motivate your child to experience diverse activities over a period of time. You may sign up your child for sports, music, dancing, acting, and tutoring, but not for the same day. Encourage your child to take one activity per day in addition to their regular school schedule. Ensure they have plenty of time to do their homework, interact with friends, and have dinner as a family. This simple concept has been proven helpful to help children succeed in life.
Do you plan your child’s activities before their school year begins? Do you and your partner collaborate with carpooling? Are you able to tap other parents to carpool or help out with the driving? Do you have any rules about how many activities your kids can do?