Balancing family time with sports and activities. How. Do. You. Do. It?
You might remember my post last year where I talked about Chuck and I working to prioritize our teens. We became youth group leaders (and dropped Boy Scouts) in an effort to spend more of our free time together. Unfortunately, things have changed again. Our church has now split up middle school and high school youth group to separate nights. This breaks down the whole system for our family. Now, only Enoch and Kalina are old enough for high school youth group, and Mordecai, Jubilee and Hezekiah for junior high. Therefore it no longer makes sense to take the whole family.
This also means if we were to have our children involved in our church’s youth programs, Enoch and Kalina would attend on Sunday nights, Mordecai, Jubilee and Hezekiah on Wednesday nights and Avi, Tucker and Apollo on Thursday nights. Throw in a small group for me and Chuck and we are up to four nights a week, with our family going in different directions.
With the kids back in school, I’ve been thinking a lot about school sports. Hezekiah and Tucker are rarely able to have friends over because their friends are busy with sports after school and on the weekends. It can take months to arrange a get together. As the kids bring home information from school Chuck and I have discussed the possibility of sports and the ramifications for our family.
I have only a few friends who don’t have kids in sports or other after school activities. My kids have only a few friends who don’t do sports.
My question is, how do you balance family life and after school activities?
- How do you balance family dinners?
- How do your kids manage homework, if they have practice?
- Does this mean there is no time for chores? Dishes? Family time at home?
- Is every single weekend taken up with sports?
- What if you have more than one child in sports?
We have always tried for a slower, unplugged pace in our home. No electronics (until Apollo came along), free time to explore, be outdoors, be creative, to learn, to read. Family dinners are important to us. It is the one time during they day we are all able to connect. The research on this isn’t new. I mean, sure, it’s not about the dinner as much as the time to reconnect and really talk, but if our evenings were taken up with sports, when would that happen? Chuck leaves the house my 6 am and our junior high kids are on the bus at 7:10 am. Evening is our only time together.
Jubilee and Kalina have both been in school plays. They rode the late bus, which required me to pick them up at 5:15 every evening (always during dinner prep). I felt like with just that we barely had time to eat, clean up dishes, do minimal homework before bedtime.
Also…sports. I totally agree it is great for the fitness aspect (a reason we love hiking and swimming as a family) as long as that isn’t offset by a bag full of sugar and dye laden snacks, but that is a post for another day*. But as an adult, a sport is a leisure activity. This Harvard study shows that while 3 out of 4 kids play sports only 1 in 4 adults still plays. [Please know, I am not dissing sports…I am struggling with how to best care for my family.]
* We ran into this issue with Cub Scouts. We left directly after lunch, they had two-hour meeting, and somehow “needed” a snack halfway through the meeting. Why???
I am truly interested, I’d love for this to be a discussion, just please be respectful in your comments and replies to others.by