Getting the balance right - How to make after school work for your family
It’s time to get buying those school uniforms and packing the kids school bags again as back to school season is well and truly upon us. After a summer of fun, fuelled by sunshine (there’s been quite a bit this summer!) and inspired by Team GB at the recent Olympics in Rio. The school summer holidays have flown by and we will be back at the school gates with our new shiny school shoes before you know it!
With back to school comes a time to think about your usual family routine. It may be worth assessing whether you are all making the most out of your time after-school. There are a number of options available to families to fill the after-school time gap. You may pay for your child to attend children classes or activities. Or perhaps you have alternative child care in the form of a childminder or nanny. Whatever your situation returning back to school is a perfect time to reflect on the choices available for both you and your child/ren.
What do parents do in the London area?
According to a London based study by Maths Doctor (1) primary school aged children spend on average 3.2 hours a week on after-school activities. This decreases to 1.7 hours a week for secondary school aged children.
The time spent in children classes and activities for primary school aged children can be spread over 1-7 different types of activity. The top three most popular after school activities for primary school aged children are:
1. Swimming lessons
A fantastic activity and aerobic exercise for children of all ages. Not only does learning to swim keep children fit and active, it also ensures children’s safety around water. Learning to swim also boosts confidence and encourages team-work especially in group classes.
2. Musical instrument tuition
Learning a musical instrument can take time and patience. This particular activity is great at teaching children how to focus and concentrate, giving them a huge sense of achievement once they have mastered a particular musical piece or instrument.
3. Drama classes
Excellent at nurturing language and communication skills. Drama lessons also encourages creativity and empathy among children. Then there is the social side to consider as children meet around a similar interest.
How do you get the balance right?
Thinking about your own after school family routine, do your primary school aged children do more or less after school activities than the average? Do you let your child or children decide how many after school activities they do as part of the family routine? How can you look for signs to ensure that your child or children aren’t doing too much? What are the best ways of getting the balance right?
A good rule of thumb is to monitor your children’s stamina levels. This is a clear indicator that they may be doing too much after a long school day. Another question to ask yourself is: are their after school activities interfering too much with family time? In other words do your children have enough time to fit in homework and ‘down time’ at home with the family each week. Are they getting enough sleep to sustain them or are they simply too busy?
Everyone’s situation is different when it comes to after school routine. Parents who work full-time may have different circumstances to those who work part-time. In some situations it may not be logistically possible for parents to ensure their children are able to do the various after school activities they want. If you have more than one child, children class times might clash, or activities might be spread too far away to physically ferry the kids back and forth.
Stop the search
One aspect all parents have in common is the lack of time to spend hours searching for after school activities. TheKidsDo offer a unique service for busy parents: effortless searching and organising of children activities. No more trawling through hundreds of web pages and setting up spreadsheets to get the kids organised!
Instead simply enter in your requirements and we will curate the information on after school activities to specifically match your needs. You will receive a schedule which includes the hard work of co-ordination across multiple activities, timings and locations for each day. It also covers all the relevant activity details and information you need to make a decision. As cost is a frequent consideration for parents, TheKidsDo can help here by providing you with a single view of total weekly costs as well as cost per activity.
To find out how we can help you get the balance right, register your interest on our website by signing up for more information. Don’t forget you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more up-to-date news.