It’s no secret that when school starts back up again, life suddenly gets chaotic. Not only is there school all day, five days a week, but all the kids’ activities start back up again and we wonder why we signed them up for 3 or 4 activities. Between homework and soccer practice and Scouts and birthday parties and dance lessons, it can get hard to keep it all straight.
And of course when you are divorced and co-parenting with your ex, it’s that much harder to coordinate everything. But it doesn’t have to be and with a little effort up front, you and your ex can manage the chaos of raising kids with busy schedules with ease if you work together.
The first step to managing schedules is to get a shared calendar. In these high tech days of smartphones and innovation, it only makes sense to set up a shared Google calendar. Google is great because you can set up your own personal calendar too, except you keep that one private from your ex. But everything on all your calendars shows up in one spot, making it super easy to keep track of.
So once you have the shared calendar, (soon support pay will have this available too) you and your ex should use it to keep track of all of your kids’ activities. You can make notes right on each event about who is responsible for taking the kids and you can even add the address right into the event on the calendar so there’s no getting lost.
Once you’ve got the calendar up and running, it’s important to sit down with your ex and figure out exactly who will handle each recurring activity. You can do this via email if having a face-to-face conversation doesn’t work for you guys. The custodial parent should not have to be responsible for taking the kids to every practice, meeting, game, and school function. Hashing this out ahead of time, with each parent committing to certain activities can really help.
Another thing that helps with crazy activity schedules is to have gear organized. So, if your kid plays baseball and is in Boy Scouts and plays soccer, it’s probably a good idea to get a bag for each activity. So, get a baseball bag and keep his glove, hat, baseballs, and bat in it. Throw in a water bottle, sunscreen, and a couple granola bars and his bag will be grab-and-go ready. Then make a soccer bag and a Boy Scouts bag and you’ll be all organized. If it becomes necessary and you can afford to, it’s not a bad idea to have activity bags with gear at each parent’s house.
And the last thing I want to mention is remembering that you, as the parent, control how many activities your kids are involved in. If the schedule gets completely overwhelming, take a step back and sign up for fewer activities. Remember that saying no to on thing is saying yes to another. That could mean saying no to playing two sports at once means saying yes to a little more quality time together and maintaining a little more of your sanity.