Tips to Survive After School Activities With Children
The past school year for us was hell in a nutshell but I would not have changed a second of it. We thought I would have been getting a break during the day by putting kids in public school for a year after letting myself get burned out from our first attempt at homeschooling. Yeah well that was not well thought out. But on the plus side we learned that for our family public school is just not the best option for our family for many various reasons. The following is a link to my blog post about our decisions to home school, 7 Reasons to Home School .
We started the year all hopeful and excited. Three girls were enrolled in dance and the boys were enrolled in Karate. Now let me explain, thankfully their places of extra curricular activities were located within 2 minutes of each other otherwise I may not have been able to pull off the past year but they were and we did. Also my hubby and I had decided to not allow the kids to use various electronics to keep them happy cause we survived childhood without them so they could too… yeah guess who spent the whole time at brothers karate class playing FarmVille2 on mommies tablet … number 1 and she did a good job keeping it running for me too. It just was not a practical idea with today’s generation.
Did I have kids run into the dance parking lots full of cars moving, yep! Did I explain to them the dangers of why that is not ok, you bet I did! I was that mom with the crying toddler who refused to nap earlier and just did not want to stay put with us in chairs at karate and instead run amok getting into anything and everything she possibly could.
We were that loud obnoxious family that I could see the dread of some parents when I brought them all in to sit in an already loud crowded room of other parents who just wanted to watch their kid spar with another kid… which was also my favorite day of the week. They are so little and the padding is just so huge it was just too comical, if anything I tried to make sure they made it on sparring day. Were their days that we just couldn’t make it because one or more of the kiddos were sick, yep. Did they try to guilt me into feeling bad for not going on those sick days, absolutely they tried their best. One thing my children have had to learn with having a large family is that we are a large family, people get sick and plans have to always be flexible. Always be flexible. And always have more snacks.
One thing I was glad I did was I limited the days we had activities. I somehow kept it to only happen three days a week. Two of those days we had #1’s dance and the boys karate pretty much all at the same time. On the other day, #4 &5 had their dance classes earlier in the day when everyone else was at school. So in reality the only evenings that we were running around like a chicken with its head chopped off was those two evenings. But how we survived…
- Bribery, either with their favorite dessert after dinner that night, or their choice of dinner for the night, or a special toy that was previously confiscated.
- Snacks… usually kept them to sit still for about 15 minutes but once that novelty wore off I started resulting to..
- Electronics, not what I wanted to use going in to this but hey it works and helped keep me sane, and a happy mom is more essential to their well-being than they realize. I would like to add that I tried to keep it as educational as possible. So if any of the older ones were struggling with something in school at that time I would only let them play a game that made them practice that topic. Like sight words and multiplication. Keeping a spare electronics battery charger or spare chargers in the diaper bag or purse is always a good thing to have on hand.
- Pleading, yes we have all been there. Pleading usually led to even more bribery and even more snacks and sometimes a run to the Food Lion next door to the karate place. Those moments were not always my best but sometime a momma just has to do what she has to do to survive.
The best bit of advice I could give is to stay flexible and be more than prepared with a well stocked diaper bag, spare clothes for all that would need them, bags in case someone has an accident and that way you can seal up the mess and deal with it when you get home.
Now for those that may ask, why didn’t your husband help out? He did, does and will always help when he can. He is active duty… they essentially own him. It sucks but it’s just the way of life in the military. He helps when he can. But he usually doesn’t get out of work till we are done with the last practice and on our way home. So on days he does have the chance to help he sure does. Next to God he will always be my biggest supporter.