Winter sports seasons is drawing to a close for us. Winter is the season where the kids have the most number of activities across the weekend and both myself and my husband also have our own sporting activities we participate in, so we have a lot to fit into our weekends. For us the weekend starts Friday night and looks something like this:
Friday after school:
- Aerobics – miss 9
- Futsal – master 14
- Long run – mum
- School soccer – master 16
- School football – master 14
- Club soccer – master 9
- Club soccer – master 6
- Club football – dad (yes he still plays!) and masters 16 and 14 do boundary umpiring and water boy duties for both the reserve and senior games. Venues are as close as one suburb away and as far as Bundoora.
- Gymnastics – mum
- Club football – master 14 and dad (assistant coach)
This winter we actually bought a small “new for us” second car. We had been managing to juggle with one car for such a long time but it was just becoming too difficult to meet everyone’s commitments without another car. Even with the second car however, our weekends require significant planning to make sure they run smoothly. Here is how we go about it:
We start looking at the plan for the weekend as soon as we know all the details. With the older boys’ school sport it is often not until Thursday afternoon that we know when and where they will be playing.
The planning is most often lead by Mr I and he will draw a diagram or write out the details and the best way to get everyone to where they need to be on time. Many weekends there will be additional activities like birthday parties etc to be considered as well.
The above photo was taken 3 years ago, but is still the type of thing we do to plan out our days. They just start a whole lot earlier for us usually now!
Quite often once the plan is done, there is a logical grouping of activities. As the older boys need to head to their dad’s footy, it is most often that they will be with their dad for the morning sport run.
Depending on where the two younger boys are playing soccer (master 9 has a home and away format, where as master 6 is always at the same place) but on most occasions, I do the soccer run. Our daughter then comes with us as it will get her home the quickest.
Time with everyone
While the majority of the time we work on logical grouping, I do try to make sure I see a couple of games each season of the older boys’ sport. In an ideal world I would love to see more, but it doesn’t always work out that way. For example on Sunday the 14 year old has club football for which his dad is the assistant coach. Having been out for a large chunk of Saturday, the younger kids are not always so keen to have to be out for another couple of hours Sunday afternoon, especially when the weather is cold. This means I will stay at home with the kids.
Make it fun
Many Saturday mornings in winter the youngest three and I will be out of the house from about 8.15am until 12.15pm. This is a big chunk of time and across the time there are big portions of time that kids are waiting for the siblings. When we have days like this, Friday nights I will go through a routine very similar to my lunch box process. The kids will have breakfast before they leave, but having a snack pack made up provides them with morning tea. In the morning before we leave, I will also make them up a small thermos each of hot chocolate.
If we have the early game at home, it means we can park near the pitch and the non playing two can stay in the car, keep warm and listen to an audio book. My daughter also would make the most of the time by bringing along any homework she had or the current novel she was reading and keep herself entertained that way.
I find my attitude is crucial to how the kids view the morning. I stay positive and enthusiastic about what we are about to do and give them as many options as possible to make it fun for them. Some weeks they want to bring the dog along which means a lot more work for me, but we do it. Some weeks when it is cold and raining it means packing blankets and cushions to rug up with in the car.
The older two boys are great at making their own way to their sporting venues when they can. Many weeks though the venues are not easy to get to, especially when there are early starts. But they realise that we can’t be in two places at once and if they can help out by using public transport they will.
Ask for help
There are a few rare occasions where we simply just don’t have enough adults to get us to all the directions we need to head to. I think there were two this season, one instance we were lucky enough to have my parents visiting and they kindly did a soccer gig for us. Another weekend my mother in law happily helped us out with a pick up and drop of for soccer.
We also regularly assess the activities the kids’ are doing, make sure they are happy with them and that no one has too much on. We generally have a limit of two activities per child, but occasionally there is some cross over between seasons.