On The Move

As a parent, it can be tough to juggle your own schedule, much less maintain your kids’. To help you out, we consulted a few experts (and moms!) and asked them to share their professional advice. Look at these four tricks for keeping your kids’ schedules active but balanced.

family playing ball together outside

Lead by example

Len Saunders, author of Keeping Kids Fit, says one of the best ways to teach your kids to maintain busy but balanced schedules is leading by example. "Children follow their parents as their number one role models," he notes, so it's important to make sure you have your own schedule in order before trying to manage theirs. "Show them how to keep their responsibilities written down on a notepad and to keep track of their own tasks, whether it be at school or play." When they go to college and are on their own, he points out, they'll have to be able to balance work, play, eating, social life and much, much more.

Get fit together

Because it's not just about fitness (although that's huge), Sarah Clachar, family fitness expert, professional health writer and founder of FitFamilyTogether.com, says young kids often do better with activities in a family setting. "It gives you the chance to strengthen bonds and work out tough issues. Focus on what you can do together with the precious time you do have outside of school and work, such as biking, kicking the soccer ball around or whatever." Kids need time to be kids, she notes — wonder, get bored, get resourceful, etc.

Don’t over schedule

Christine Agro of The Conscious Mom's Guide is a firm believer in the fact that kids need down time. "If we over schedule our kids, we never give them the opportunity to learn how to 'just be,' and they grow up believing that every second of their life needs to be full and scheduled." Encourage kids to play outside, to lie on the grass and look at the clouds, to sit and read or to just do nothing. Give them unstructured space where they need to figure out how to fill their own time, without video games, phones or television, she advises.

Sprinkle in fun with education

If your kid has a really busy day (back-to-back activities), try to remember to sprinkle in a few really fun ones to avoid meltdowns, offers Bryce Gruber, mom and editor of The Luxury Spot. "Speech class, piano lessons and a math tutor might be your idea of a perfect Tuesday, but if so, you're heading straight for a brick behavior wall. Balance one fun and one purely educational activity every day (or week) so your child isn't overwhelmed."

Quick Tip

Don't forget to leave enough room for snack and potty breaks between each activity! "Kids are like natural stress detectors, and they totally know when you're rushing from one place to the next," says Bryce. "They always perform better when they feel like everyone around them is calm." So remember, keep your cool and just slow down.

Find more tips & tools for moms

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Comments

Comments on "Tricks for keeping kids' schedules active but balanced"

Katie January 18, 2013 | 12:00 PM

Love these tips! Such great reminders. Staying balanced is so important. Allow for downtime and relaxation. It makes for much happier kids and parents.

Michelle September 17, 2012 | 10:51 AM

These are great tips for parents! Kids love to play and be active so sometimes it can be a challenge just keeping up with them. The trick is how to channel their energy into proper activities while still allowing enough breathing room for unstructured play and creativity. I think Shannon’s idea of scheduling two or three activities during the summer and one or two during the school year is a good balance. I think kids do better when they focus on a few activities that they like rather than trying their hand at the whole range of activities that are out there.

Sarah September 16, 2012 | 9:38 PM

It's important to remember that your kids lives don't have to be mega-structured all the time. Free time, relaxation time and plenty of time between activities is as important as keeping your kids active. Enjoy what you're doing, don't stress about how many more things there are to do today.

Shannon September 14, 2012 | 2:44 PM

Great article! We live in such a busy world, so I try to slow things down by limiting the amount of activities my kids do. They can do two or three in the summer, and one or two during the school year. Education is always their first priority.

Leslie September 05, 2012 | 11:20 AM

These are all great tips! I liked the quick tip as a reminder to take kids the restroom between activities! It's also a reminder to slow down and not be so rushed. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time between activities to get where you need to be.

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