I have just started to put together a picture of what of the average Term 1 week is going to look like. I often spend time wondering about what is the right number of after school activities for the kids. Education Consultant Kathy Walker suggests one or two for children aged between 4 – 8 years.
This issue is not quite as simple as a number for one child, because the extra activities impact on all the other children in the family. We are a one car family and dad is usually not home in time to do the escorting to and from activities, so the younger children have to literally come along for the ride. This means in reality Babaganouski attends about 7 non school/preschool related activities. Two of these are specifically for him, as we attend a playgroup and Leaping Lizards session weekly.
When planning the week for the kids, I need to take this into account. Is there ways that I can share the drop off/pick up arrangements? Is this activity one where I can drop them safely and return later to pick them up? Can more that one of my children participate in the activity at the same time? All of these considerations help to juggle the scheduling and reduce the run around for the family as a whole.
Once the after school activites have been sscheduled, I then try to have an over arching approach as to how I plan the school hours for the non school children. I have found it incredibly valuable to have at least one day a week during these hours, which we have as a stay home quiet day. I find it valuable for a number of reasons:
- The little ones can have a more restful day.
- It gives me time to catch up on things around the house.
- I can focus some time on what the children would like to do in an unstructured environnment.
- The little ones can enjoy, not being put in and out of the car, and run to a freer time frame.
It looks like our stay home day will be Monday for Term 1. I will avoid in most instances from booking any appointments, play dates, shopping expeditions on this day. Knowing our home day is “Monday” in advance, helps me to prevent the overscheduling that can sometime arise when I accept invitations, plan activities etc, and then all of sudden realise that we have multiple weeks with no free days.
Do you plan a day at home?