Now that school is back in session and the holidays are around the corner, you’re probably feeling the pressure of supporting every school booster, fundraiser and volunteer opportunity for your child.
As a parent, it’s overwhelming. Especially since we’re usually better at putting everyone first but ourselves! Plus, don’t forget that we have commitments outside of school from community involvement to church to extracurricular activities. It all piles up!
Have no fear! We’ve got tips for how you can get through the school year and actually add value, not stress, to your child’s school, their experience, and your sanity. (Spoiler alert: you can’t do everything)!
What you need to know first is that whatever you’re going to put your money or time to should be authentic and purposeful. As a parent, you’re going to need to learn self-control because you already know the downside to overcommitting.
Let’s break it down by “kids” and “parents” because we all have time and resources to give.
Kids want to do everything, but it’s important to be realistic with them. A great rule of thumb is to set limits as to how many activities they are allowed to do. This may seem “restrictive”, but think about it. If they are only focusing on one to two activities, they can actually focus and grow! If they have too much on their plates, they will quickly feel pressure and not want to do anything. Plus, they have school work and most likely household responsibilities that also take up time in their day.
These activities can change every season, but whatever they decide, they need to know they need to finish that commitment. So it may be Taekwondo and flag football, or maybe a weekly art class and girl scouts.
To relieve parental stress with multiple activities (and multiple kids), give them options that work with the family schedule so everyone has the opportunity for down time (including mom and dad)!
As a parent, you can donate your time, money or both.
In regards to donating time, make sure it’s something that works with your schedule. Don’t feel ashamed to say “no” or ask if there is something you and your child can do at home for the classroom instead of going into the class. Let the teachers know that you want to help out, but also let them know your availability and they can help find something to benefit everyone!
Fundraisers are constant, especially during the holidays. While you want to support, you may not need (or want) the things the kids are selling so instead, consider making a donation to the cause rather than purchasing something. It could be for the same amount, but then you’re not left with 20 rolls of wrapping paper you’re never going to use because you got 20 rolls last year!
As a parent and family, decide the types of foundations and organizations that you want to support. There are SO many out there, it’s hard not to want to support all of them, but what means the most to you – children, cancer, or animals? Based on what you set aside to “gift”, select one or two you’re going to support. Change it up every year if there are more.
TKD Tip: Make sure to set boundaries. Ask yourself what you are willing to support and what is important to you. It’s okay to say no, because you’ll add more value to those you focus your time and resources to.
Parent/Child Activity: Sit down with your family and brainstorm the organizations you could support. Let your children decide one they want to support and then tell them which one you and your spouse are going to support as a “family”. This teaches children about giving and selflessness, plus educates them about the different organizations. Print out a list for them to read, if they are older.