Parents, does this conversation sound familiar?
“Remember, you’re picking Johnny up from baseball practice while I take Suzy to her art class. Don’t be late getting him, though, because you only have 15 minutes to get across town before his driver’s ed class starts. Tomorrow is Jack’s soccer tournament, and we need to be out the door by 7 am because it’s a two-hour drive. I almost forgot—it’s our turn to bring snacks for the team. Can you take care of that?”
This conversation may sound like one that your family has had all too often. Between sports, clubs, and lessons, kids’ commitments are at an all-time high. Parents want their children to have wonderful experiences as they grow up, but it can be overwhelming trying to manage so many obligations. Listed below are several tips that may be beneficial in maintaining a healthy faith, family, and fun balance.
1. Be intentional with your choices. Don’t simply sign your child up for an activity without asking him/her whether he/she wants to participate; make a joint decision. Weigh the short- and long-term benefits of an activity against the cost to your family in terms of money, time, and energy. Consider what your family may miss because of the activity and reflect on whether those experiences are valuable enough to find time for them in your family’s schedule.
2. Set limits that fit your family. Find the level of participation that works for your child and your family. It’s OK to say no even if it seems like “every other kid is doing it.” Take cues from your child while also trusting your intuition and working to set limits.
3. Designate family time. Set aside one night a week or month as Family Night, when you can rent a movie, go for a bike ride, play games, have a bonfire, and just be together. Research has shown that teenagers who eat dinner with their parents five times per week or more are the least likely to be on drugs, to be depressed, or to be in trouble with the law, and the most likely to be doing well in school and to have a supportive circle of friends.
4. Find a balance between active and quiet time. Set aside time every evening when all electronics are turned off and you and your kids have some peace and quiet. This can be a perfect opportunity to talk with your kids and find out the highs and lows of their day.
5. Keep Christ at the center. Raising children is one of the greatest blessings from God. Proverbs 22:6 is a great reminder about the most significant role that parents play in their children’s lives: “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” While families juggle so many activities and commitments, prioritizing time with Jesus is the most important. Several ways to do this include having daily devotions, praying with your children each night, and going to church as a family.
While the demands of this world may feel hectic, stressful, and overwhelming at times, we can take comfort in knowing that our wonderful God is always in control. May he bless you today and always!
Want to learn more about this topic? Counselor Whitney Donovan provides an extended educational presentation for church, school, and community groups on maintaining your family's balance. Please click here to learn more.
Some of the tips were taken and modified from this website: http://www.momsteam.com/successful-parenting/balancing-sports-and-family-13-tips-for-parents