Activities Follow Up
Will definitely do an ‘activities logistics’ ep of some kind on BOBW. I wanted to throw a few things out that have made things doable in our care:
1- Doube up when possible. A&C did horseback riding and art at the same time last year. This year I already know I am doubling up tennis and gymnastics.
2- Seek activities where dropoff is allowed/encouraged. If I am forced to sit on the sidelines for every practice (sports league the kids were previously in) — I may seek out other options. This is often less available with really young kids’ activities, but as they get older it’s increasingly common.
3- Seek out activities through the school if offered! C did track last year and it was quite easy – just a later pickup on some days and a few weekend meets. The fact that our kids’ school has sports and activities on offer is one of the reason we chose to send the kids there.
4- Make use of aftercare if available for out of sync pickups. Our school allows ‘a la carte’ purchase of aftercare as long as you schedule in advance. I imagine if there’s a day where a kid is doing a sport but pickup is tricky, I might pay to allow them to stay longer.
A lot of families in our immediate area have their kids do activities through our JCC, which offers busing from the local schools (not our school, but many). This means kids can get shuttled to their facility, participate in activities (they offer a ton), and get picked up at the end of the work day.
5- Strategize geographically if possible. We chose our current living area in part because it is geographically EASY in many regards. (Exciting and glamorous – NO. Easy – YES!). We live super close to many activities (tennis is 5 min away, gymnastics/dance 8 min away, soccer fields right around the block) and the kids’ school is on the way to my office. In contrast, Miami Beach was SO much more logistically challenging.
6- Employing a childcare provider who drives. A key part of our strategy, obviously. I have some flexibility on some days, but none on other days.
It’s almost AUGUST
I cannot believe that in this single month, I took G to PHL, the kids had most of their camp experience (June 26 – Jul 24!), I got & recovered from COVID, and more. It honestly seems like 3 months in one.
I will be spending this weekend going through my monthly review process and also thinking about Q4 (the Back to School Quintile!). Lots of logistics but also setting priorities. I did not complete all of my July goals, but I made some solid progress on most of them.
I will leave you with A’s mini-planner she wanted to share:
So, the reason I stopped blogging was because our au pair from three years ago got into a fender bender and the person she hit sued us. We went through the whole thing – depositions and court, which finished earlier this week, verdict unanimously in our favor. IT SUCKED, and was incredibly stressful. However it also massively reduced my desire to ever hire someone to drive my daughter again, even though I don’t live in philadelphia anymore where the accident happened (relevant for several reasons).
Not saying nobody should do this, but it definitely did affect my calculus. Just brining it up because it’s a major factor in whether someone like me can get their kids to activities.
Adding on to this … a decade or so ago, I handled the finances for a Very Wealthy and High Profile multigenerational family. For the younger family members with children and in home employees, including those who drove on behalf of their employer (my clients) – I worked with the family’s insurance broker to bind policies to cover employee related risks similar to this. Depending on the circumstances, the broker wrote extended umbrella policies, workers compensation, and added drivers to the existing auto insurance policy. I hate to suggest adding more work to someone else’s plate, but if you have assets to protect and are perceived to be a high income or net worth individual, this is a great move to help protect yourself.
Totally agree with carrying as much liability insurance as you can afford as well as umbrella coverage and workman’s comp insurance if applicable. Also, go with a reputable company. It makes a difference.
Also wanted to add that some people think that if your babysitter drives her own car, that somehow you’re not liable if she gets into an accident while driving your kids somewhere. That could not be further from the truth. Our sitters have always been covered on our plan.
This is really good to know. Thank you!! And I’m so sorry you had to go through the ordeal of it all.
A’s mini stationary set is so cute!
Sarah, this is so helpful to see written out because some of what you bring up are just not options for me! (Which makes me feel like I’m not failing, but rather the systems aren’t in place). We are headed into “drop off at activities” ages soon – so that will help. But there are no after school buses and even the at-school activities are tough to get to pickup on time because of my commute (they usually end at 4:45-5). So! Thank you for sharing!
I wanted to echo this as well — honestly, seeing the kids’ planned activities post a few days ago completely gave me the vapors because it looked SO stressful and completely untenable to me and I felt kinda weird and bad about it too even though I really dislike spending our family time on individual kid activities, haha. Seeing the structure/timetables/other supports you have in place that I don’t currently have available to me helped me better understand why I currently find them so burdensome. So thanks from me as well!
Adding similar thoughts from me here too. By looking at this list, it was much easier to see why two activities at a time sends me toppling over when other families have so much more support, flexibility, and systems to make so many more extracurriculars work
“The Fony Planner” – an Etsy store in the making!
I doubled up on my girls’ swim lessons this summer and am doubling up on gymnastics this fall. Music is harder to double up on – my 9 year old has piano lessons on Tuesdays, and my 6 year old has a group Let’s Play Music class on Thursdays (teachers music skills before they can read and have finger strength for piano – yes my 6 year old can read but classes start for 4 year olds and I’ve been really impressed by what she’s learned without realizing it) and I’m starting my 2 year old in a group music class called Sound Beginnings. What makes the younger 2 kids’ music classes harder is that it has a parent involvement component – for the youngest a parent attend every week, for the middle child a parent attends sometimes. Besides that added difficulty I highly recommend the program.
We are in the parent-involvement stage, too, which is not my favorite. I’m in the pool with the toddler and go to his tumbling class with him, too. We’ll drop swimming lessons soon, though. I wanted some water exposure and we had no activities when I put him in swimming lessons but now it’s too much on top of their tumbling class… But it is really nice that the boys’ tumbling classes are at the same time and I know it will be good for both boys’ gross motor skills. When our kids go to school, they will do an after-school program and I’ve heard a bit about some of things they can do there, like chess club. So eventually they will have activity options that won’t involve the parents dropping off or participating in class. But it feels far off for us! Besides swimming lessons, I haven’t felt compelled to expose our kids to much in the way of planned activities at their young ages, but I might have felt differently if we had a nanny who would take them to things/give them some structure to their day. But they get plenty of that at school so I feel like they need less structure to their evenings/weekends. But that said, I like having some structure to one weekend day!
If it’s not too personal, I’d love to know what your thoughts on Hebrew school are. My husband is Jewish, I am not, and we are starting our first grader in Hebrew school this year so she can have a bat mitzvah. But we feel ambivalent! My husband hated Hebrew school and we’re not so much religious as culturally Jewish. But where we live (western Canada) it would be hard to get Jewish content in without participating in Temple…
We are not planning on bat/bar mitzvahs or Hebrew school. I love the “celebrate with family” aspect of religion but have opted out of the rest. Josh and I are aligned on this so no conflicts in this area. Obviously this is a very personal / family choice so in no way saying this is “right”, this just has been our choice/path.
Just a mention to not discount the option of CARPOOLING with other families if your kids have friends in activities/sports. My younger son swims 4-5x/week (sometimes at pools 20+ minutes away) and his swim carpool literally saves my life. We organized a carpool with a group of 4 families and rotate driving one day each week. Driving to and from (even taking into account the multiple pickup/drop off locations) ONE day per week compared to 4 or 5 makes a massive difference in my week!!!! We carpool to/from my other son’s soccer as well (3x/week practices). If you do the math, this cuts down on us driving to a total of say, 8 different practices a week between my 2 boys down to approximately 2! Huge.
YES! Our neighbors two doors down have a daughter doing the same drama class as A. You can bet we will trade off pickups!
So I love this option but what do you do about carseats?!?! or boosters? That makes it very complicated, I find, though I know this goes away with older kids. (but we’re fairly far from needing nothing in the car!)
Oh, mine are older now- 12 and 14. I’d say we carpooled though starting around 7 years old, sometimes. I cannot remember right now how long they use boosters for!!? I have a vague memory of handing off a booster quick to another family when they picked my son up sometimes… but I feel this was short lived. Boosters are super easy though compared to actual car seats, assuming the other family is driving both ways. Maybe if it was super close/local and they were pretty much tall enough we just didn’t worry about it? I cannot remember, sorry! Most of our carpooling really took off more around age 10+ I would say. For soccer, even when my son didn’t have close friends on the team one year, I sent a team email saying “anyone want to carpool?!?!” And got a bunch of takers.
Ooh, that question reminded me that I wanted to buy one of the miFold booster seats for my 7y/o. She’s at the age/size where she definitely still needs a child restraint but lots of kids near her age mange without (even if they should have a seat)! I think it can easily fit in a backpack if there are days we need a carpool/last-minute pickup arrangement. Maybe an option for others.
On the activity front: we found a soccer league with games Friday night instead of Saturday morning, and its a short season (7 weeks) and it feels like the best idea ever.
One of our challenges is trying to avoid super-long days for our nanny – summer swim was at 5:30pm, and sometimes neither parent can be home at 5 to leave. Our nanny sometimes starts at 7:30, so for her to be off work and back at her car by 6:30, one of us ends up meeting her at the activity at 6:15 so she has time to drive the van home and it just seems so convoluted sometimes.
During the school year, many days our nanny doesn’t have to come in until 2pm or so b/c Josh or I can do drop off – that is why it works to have her help more in the evenings! (we still pay full time.)