I have been called mad and totally insane and I wholeheartedly agree with that statement when it comes to my daughter and her clubs this year. It didn’t really hit me until the week they all started how crazy our life is going to be with them all. Breaking it down for you; Monday’s she has Theatre Company at school, Wednesdays is Tennis, Thursdays is Violin at school then Gymnastics, Friday is Ballet and Saturday morning is Swimming. Now yes that is a lot, but she wants to do them all and I think she is at an age where she is discovering what she loves and what her passions are and when she figures that out there will be less of them – hopefully! People have said I am mad and that is a distinct possibility but I have come up with some tips for managing kids clubs which help things go a little more smoothly.
Bag it Up
So I have found that with the majority of Alyssa’s clubs she has a uniform or gear that she needs to have and take with her. Swimming – goggles, arm biscuits, swimsuit, swimming cap and towel. Tennis is sports gear, hat, drink and racquet. Violin is the violin in it’s case plus some books and a shoulder support. Gymnastics is her leotard, shorts, socks for trampoline work, hoodie and tracksuit bottoms and a drink. Ballet is the leotard, skirt, tights, shoes, drink, cardigan, hair stuff and over clothes.
It is a lot and if it was randomly placed in random drawers I’d be in a right muddle. So, what I decided to do was buy a cheapish backpack or holdall for EACH activity that was also a different colour. After each session, her clothes get washed, the bottles get rinsed and then they’re all put back into their bag for the following week. This really helps as then on whatever day it is, I can just grab and go.
For violin, I simply got a funky book bag from Smiggle in the sale and put all her music books and little bits that don’t fit into her case in their and pop the book bag in her back pack.
Planning is Key
One thing I was concerned about, was that we would be eating frozen meals all week, because I would not have time to be cooking. Now, for the majority of Alyssa’s classes, she is done and home just after 5pm which is fine for a quick dinner like pasta or burgers. However, there are a couple of days when she’s home just after 6pm BUT we have a break before clubs when she could eat dinner, but it would be really hard to try and cook something in that time.
I meal plan anyway, but what I have done for the later club days, is plan slow cooker meals, like my slow cooker meatballs, which we have in sub rolls with grated cheese and a corn on the cob. That way it’s ready when she comes in and we can dish it up and her tummy can settle before classes. Then she has some pudding when she gets home!
Use Your Time
One thing you will discover when doing kids clubs is that you have time to kill. You are effectively a taxi service during this time and unless you live next door and have walked, there is little point in going home. It is only her swimming classes that I am allowed to watch and the rest of the time I have to just wait in the car.
I decided that this was time I could use wisely. So during her hour of tennis on Wednesdays, I also take my planner and plan the meals for the coming week and write out the shopping list. At other times, I sit and answer emails, deal with my social media and even write blog posts. Make the most of the time – just because you have to sit there, doesn’t mean you can’t be doing something, even if it’s reading a chapter of your book.
It is all very well and good doing kids clubs, but what I will say is that they should not interfere with the rest of your essential life moments. Alyssa still needs to be able to sit at the table and enjoy a family meal, have a bath, snuggle up in bed for a bedtime story, do her school reading and plain be a kid.
Now adjustments need to be made, sometimes we will eat earlier, sometimes it is a shower instead of a bath. However, if you don’t have enough time to do all you need then it may be time to cut back. For me, as long as we can do all the things we should and she is happy we will keep moving forward with the kids clubs and helping her find her passions.
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