Get tips and tricks on how to stay organized with after-school activities and sports without losing your mind in the process! #ad – Thanks to Label-Land for sponsoring this post.
By the time the kids are in elementary school, after-school sports and activities have started to take over. It seems as though you have something going on every night of the week, and you’re starting to wonder if you’re ever going to catch up. Thankfully, there’s hope! You can stay organized, keep to a schedule, and learn to manage all the equipment and paperwork that goes along with after-school sports and activities without losing your mind in the process.
Each evening after dinner, take a few minutes to look over your plans for the next day. Where will you and the kids have to be? What equipment do they need to have for those sports or activities? Take a few minutes to fill out paperwork, gather up any necessary pieces of uniforms or equipment that have gone missing, and collect everything in one place so that you can grab it when you head out the door. This is equally important if you have time to come home before those activities start. Putting things together the night before means that you’re not going on a mad dash through the house trying to come up with that missing pair of basketball shorts or a missing piano book before you have to hurry back out the door again.
When your child attends an activity every week, especially if they have the same after-school activity on multiple days of the week, it’s easy for them to get in the habit of just dropping equipment near the door and leaving it until it’s time to grab it again. They think it’s too much effort to put it away neatly, only to drag it out again a few days later. Unfortunately, this means that their gear is cluttering up the walkway, taking up valuable space in common rooms, or, worse, being scattered about the house, where you’ll have to go to the trouble of finding it all again when you prepare for the next practice or meeting. Instead, designate a specific place for all of the gear or equipment for each activity. If possible, store it in a single bag or box so that it all stays together and when you need it, you can just grab it all at once.
After-school activities generate a lot of paperwork. There are forms that have to be filled out, permission slips that have to be signed, and reminders that come home on a regular basis. The easiest way to keep track of all this paperwork is to store it in a labeled drawer or file folder with each activity separated from the others. You can even include school paperwork in a separate file. Then, you can easily find the relevant information when you need it.
Kids don’t always realize just how much time their favorite activities really take. They want to do it all, but they forget that they still need time for homework, downtime to simply enjoy themselves, and time to complete chores at home, not to mention the all-important family time that allows you all to reconnect. Hang a calendar and write down every activity so that your kids can see just how busy they really are. Even young children can add smiley faces or stickers to the days when they have after-school activities. This will help give everyone a visual look at exactly where the time is going—and give you a chance to start narrowing those activities down to the ones that really matter.
You can’t do it all. As much as you would love to give your children access to every activity they’ve ever wanted to enjoy after school, you can’t be in two places at once, nor can you live at an impossibly fast pace with activities after school every day and games on the weekends. Give yourself permission to say no. Choose the activities that are the most meaningful for your kids and remove the rest from your schedules. Does your son really hate going to Boy Scouts? Only play baseball because his dad did? Give everyone a break and let that activity go. You’ll be surprised by how much lighter you feel because of it.
Keeping organized is critical to managing after-school activities, especially if you have more than one child. Take a close look at your current organization skills to see where they’re falling short, then spend some time getting things straightened out. It might be difficult at first, but the extra time you’ll gain in the long run is well worth the effort.
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