One of the challenges we are trying to figure out this year deals with entering the world of after-school youth activities. Every day I hear my students talk about their busy schedules - music and dance lessons, drama practice, sports teams that run year-round, not to mention family obligations and homework. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about the years ahead and wondering how our boys will feel about participating in the million or so opportunities out there.
For now we are just dipping our toes into the water. In this case, quite literally. Both boys have swim lessons right now - 30 minutes, twice a week. No big deal, really. We decided that this was an activity worth adding to our schedules. Water safety is crucial to our family, and if they can take lessons at the same time and place, there are fewer schedules to match.
In choosing their schedule, there were a couple of factors that were important to making it work for our family. One was the ability to still eat a healthy dinner at home together. The second was to have as few busy/non-routine nights as possible. For us, that meant doing swimming on Mondays and Wednesdays, after our dinner hour (6:30-7:00). We searched the three local pools until we found lessons that met our needs, and then signed up.
Another thing that has made adding evening events to the schedule easier is our meal planning. Each week we plan our dinners so that the nights we are short on meal prep. time we are having leftovers from the night before. That way we can be assured that we are eating the way we want to be, without the temptation to pick up fast food.
The boys are loving their lessons, and we are happy that they are able to participate without it feeling like the rest of our lives are turned upside down. We know this is just the beginning, but we are determined to let activities fit into our lives, rather than make our lives fit the activities.
Well, for as long as we can, that is...