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Your Family Schedule–Got Any Blank Space?

 I want to join Poms.  I want to join Five Star.  I want to join cheer.  I want to join Girl Scouts. I want to join Brownines. I want to join the Broadcasting team.  I want to be in the play.  I want to be on the Leadership team. I want to be in a small group.  I want to go to GSM Bible study…

All of these statements were made by all of our kids in the past two weeks.  All 3 of them are already taking Tap lessons and have church activities.  Our policy in order to keep our family schedule running like a well-oiled machine has always been to allow the girls to have their church activities, then one lesson-type thing like gymnastics, horseback riding, or dance.  It’s all worked out pretty well  until we turned the page to tween life/middle school.

Suddenly everything is incredibly fun and necessary, according to the girls.  I’ve been trying to explain to the girls that there just are not enough hours in the day to do all they want to do, but they just weren’t getting it.  I don’t blame them. Every activity they want to be in is incredibly fun and good.

Family Schedule

In order to illustrate the point, I gave them a visual.  I drew out this color coded chart to demonstrate to them how busy our lives already are. Rob and I asked them how they felt about there being almost no “open” space to fit in plain old family time, or just chill time.  It clicked!  It was one of those parenting moments where Rob and I felt like super-awesome parents, and like we really, actually do know what we are doing.  They agreed with us that there wasn’t much blank space, and we had to have it.

The girls still want to do all the fun stuff, but they realize now that they have to choose between the “good” stuff and the “great” stuff.  When there is too much “great” stuff, they have to simply make a choice that will be hard.

I’m sharing this because I know some of you will look at our chart/graph thing and be envious of all the blank space, but there are also many of you who will think we are crazy for being so busy.  I simply want to ask you: how much blank space do you have in your schedule?  Do you have any?  What are you doing to make sure your family has down time?

Any tips for the rest of us?  I’d love to hear how you make your family schedule work.


2 Responses to “Your Family Schedule–Got Any Blank Space?”

  • Cindy Says:

    I believe everyone should know how to play a musical instrument. I also believe everyone should have one physical activity for every season. It can be the same activity all year long (like dance or running), or it can be different sports that don’t overlap (such as hockey and baseball). But apart from that, I don’t like to overload our schedules – not while the kids are still at home. In high school, there are some occasions when we have huge demands on our time (like during marching band season), but then we try to balance those times with weeks and months of close to nothing, to make up for the crunch-times.

    Involvement in outside activities provides opportunities for kids to learn how to interact with peers, play fair and sort through their talents and goals. But if you think middle school pulls your kids away from you, prepare your heart now, because it only gets more intense with every passing year. Last year, for the first time in my life, I suddenly had two in high school at the same time, and it was a major shock to my system.

    I am in the final years of my exceedingly long career as a mom — my oldest is 31 — and I’m looking forward to my empty nest. I pray I’m providing my children with the skills they need to sprint on out into their own life adventures. In retrospect, I have never regretted the outside activities nearly as much as the intrusions into our family relationships that came from within the home — the television, video games and now sometimes the Internet.

  • skoutz Says:

    I just wanted to say I liked the bright green box on Sunday labeled GSM! 🙂

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