5 tips for taming the family schedule

THE BUSY FAMILY.  Books have been written on it, news segments have reported about it.  The American life looks quite different than it did when our parents were growing up.  More opportunity, more variety, more technology.

I will admit while I love all that our modern world does for us, there are times I long for the peaceful existence of a less developed life.  Do you ever feel our culture pushing you to be everywhere, to have your child experience every sport, to volunteer for every committee?  Do you feel the cultural push to run the rat race to keep up with your kids’ friends?

Kids today are said to be growing up faster than ever before.  Think back to when you started your family, is the current pace of your life what you dreamed of way back when?

If not, it is time to tame the family schedule.  To reclaim control and authority over the way your family spends their time.  Grab the proverbial whip because here are 5 tips to get you started if you are ready to make a change.

1.  Decide what you want out of life for your family.

What would you like the picture of your children’s childhood to look like?  Do you want your kids to experience a variety of things?  Maybe you have a uniquely talented child in a particular area and your family is going to pour effort in training and developing that talent.  When your kids look back at age 18, what vision of family do you want them to have?

Think back to your childhood.  What would you want to repeat or diminish in the way you grew up?  Think about it for awhile.  Jot down a few notes.

Here is what I came up with:  I want to raise well-balanced kids that come from a strong background of faith in Jesus, who learn the importance and value of family, church, service, education and fun.  I want my children to know the peace, joy and security of a strong family built from time spent together and commitment to one other.  The way we spend our time should reflect these values as well as a desire to place people over things and a healthy balance of scheduled activity, unstructured play and rest.  

the way we spend our time

2.  Set Your Family’s Limits

For each family this may look different.  Time spent together is important to me, as is a good balance of activity, play and rest.  So during this stage in my kids’ lives, we only allow them to participate in one activity at a time.  (And because life is crazy right now with house sale, prep and more…let me whisper in your ear… they aren’t in anything.)

Let me pull a Dr. Phil:  for your current family schedule, how is it working for you?  Do you need to change some limits?  Sit down with your spouse and figure out what would be best for your family according to your answer above on what you want out of life.

3.  Make “NO” a regular part of your vocabulary.  I will confess that I am awesome at this for awhile and then slowly, I fill the time back up until I am ready to chuck it all in complete disgust.

Protect your family’s time.  If something is going to encroach on the life of your family in an unhealthy way, say no.  Because God and church life is very important to my family, there will be no Sunday morning sports that take my kids away from church.  Did I just lose some of you?  Oooh, sorry.  But this is high on my family’s value list and this will be a limit that we set.

schedule family fun

4.  Schedule Family Fun

When you are sitting with your spouse talking about limits, make sure you have your calendar with you.  Schedule some family outings.  Schedule time for low-key family fun.  Yes, put it on the calendar.  Come up with a creative name or code for it.  I bet your kids will love helping you name your family’s special time.

Last week, my friend, Melissa of Hive Resources shared a post about a Family Time-Out.  After the release of her ebook. (did you see it?  wonderful!), her husband called a Family Time-Out and took a surprise trip to . . . well, you’ll have to go read her post to find out.  But, Melissa shares 20 great ideas that you can use to call your own family time out.

5.  Get Each Player on Board

This is pretty easy if your kids are young, but I imagine if you have an older brood, their response to reducing the family schedule may be less than ecstatic.  Take time to explain your motives, your desires and then make those initial family time super fun!   Invite your kids to come up with ideas for activities you can all do together.

You may need to steal back your kids’ love for family that their culture has taken from them.  Your family is fun.  Your family is worthy of quality time.  Your family needs this!   ROAR!

What works for keeping your family schedule under control?


>This post is a part of our Path to a Simply Organized Life series.  We’d love to have you join us anytime on our 12 month journey to a more organized and purposeful life.  And yes, I’m a little late on this one. Can I use the excuse that other things took priority in our family schedule?  Thanks, friend!   ~ Kristen