How to Handle Your Kids' Scheduling Conflicts

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  • 01 of 10

    Choose the Right Activities

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    When you have more than one child, it's going to happen. You'll have direct conflicts in your kids' schedule that can force you to make some tough decisions. With a little prep work beforehand, you can manage your children's conflicting activities with ease.

    First, you and your family should sit down together to choose the activities that interest your children the most. For example, spring soccer and baseball seasons overlap, so you end up having an instant direct conflict. Dance...MORE class may be three days a week and softball practices may be two days a week, plus weekend games.

    Ask your children to rank their activities in order of importance. That way, you can choose the right activities for right now and save the others for next time.

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  • 02 of 10

    Set Limits

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    Set limits with each new season that rolls around. During the school year, you may decide that limit is one after school activity at a time as opposed to allowing them to participate in dance, gymnastics, soccer, basketball and martial arts all over a few months' time. During the summer, activities can increase when they have more free time.

    Setting limits puts you more in control of your family's time so you're not overscheduling your family. It also helps keep your kids'...MORE schoolwork a priority during the school year so grades don't suffer.

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  • 03 of 10

    Think Proximity

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    An easy way to keep you from running all over town is to help your children choose activities based on the proximity of games and practices. If a scheduling conflict arises, you won't have to dash across town to get your children where they're going.

    Make the activity's location a part of your scheduling strategy so you can drop one child off at practice within minutes of your other child's activity. Proximity can make all the difference between your kids getting to participate in...MORE the activities they want or having to sit this one out.

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  • 04 of 10

    Find Out the Full Schedule Before Committing

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    You've signed up for an activity that has games once a week. No problem. But did you know your child has practices for that activity twice a week on top of game day? Many activities don't advertise the full schedule you'll be expected to commit to, so it's important to find out before you sign up.

    Contact the director beforehand to find out how many practices there are each week and what the typical days and times are for those practices. The more information you have before you...MORE sign up, the easier your decision will be to go ahead and register, look for a different program or find another activity altogether.

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  • 05 of 10

    Make Special Requests

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    When registering your children for a sport or other activity, there's usually a text box you can fill in to make special requests. You can ask that your practice not be on a certain day or request your children to have practice at certain times.

    Use this box to make your special requests, and follow up with the director to make sure she received your info. These special requests can be a lifesaver for you and your family's schedule because they lay out exactly what you can and can't...MORE do.

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  • 06 of 10

    Ask for Changes if There's a Conflict

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    Even with your best efforts, there will undoubtedly be a scheduling conflict that you simply can't swing. Basketball practice will be at the same time as scouts. Gymnastics lessons will be available on a day there's no way you can go. Many sports programs require you to sign up without you knowing exactly what day and time your child will have to be there for practice. They assign you to a team behind closed doors, and you don't know what schedule you're getting until they hand...MORE it to you after teams have already been assigned.

    Ask for changes if you have a scheduling conflict. If they can't accommodate your request, you can decide between making the schedule work somehow or getting a refund. Also keep in mind you may be able to find an alternate program in your area with a schedule that works for you so your kids can still participate in the activities they want.

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  • 07 of 10

    Split the Duties

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    You and your spouse or other family members may have to pitch in to get everyone where they need to be. Your son could easily have a 9 a.m. football game and your other child has a dance recital at the same time across town. You obviously can't be at both places at once, so you'll need some help to split the duties.

    You and your spouse may feel like single parents for the season as you dash off in one direction with one child as he heads off in the opposite direction with your other kids....MORE You'll also have to make some tough decisions about missing one of your children's activities that day, but you and your spouse can also take turns as those conflicts arise to make sure you see an even number of events or games throughout the season.

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  • 08 of 10

    Hire Help

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    Grownups have scheduling conflicts too, and you may find you're on your own with two or more children to get to multiple places at once. Hire help if you need someone to take your kids to conflicting activities and your family members aren't available.

    You can't be everywhere as much as you'd like to be. Some extra help every now and then can drive your children one way as you're driving the other with your other kids.

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  • 09 of 10

    Don't Be Afraid to Skip

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    There will be days you simply won't feel like making the mad dash to ballet lessons, basketball practice and scouts. You don't want your children to miss, of course, but it's okay to skip every now and then.

    Clear this day or days with your child's coach ahead of time, though. You want to be sure your child won't be penalized on game day if a practice is missed once or twice during the season.

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  • 10 of 10

    Take a Season Off

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    Seasons of activities will come and go. Sometimes you just need to take a break from having to manage an entire family's schedule. Yes, basketball season, football season, etcetera, only come around once a year, but talk to your kids about taking one season of activities off if the scheduling won't work out this year or if you all want a break from shuttling around town to practice, games, more practice, more games.

    There are plenty of ways for kids to have fun without joining organized...MORE activities. Besides, a new season of activities is just a couple of months away.