This post is part of my Sports Season Survival Series, you can read the previous posts in the series here, here, and here. If you have more than one child in more than one activity, you are going to run into some scheduling conflicts sooner or later. Actually, if you have one child in one activity or you have things you like to do yourself, you are going to run into some scheduling conflicts. These tips and tricks are just what work for our family. Every family is different and what works here may not work there but maybe you’ll get some even better ideas by my approach.
I’m just going to list the basic types of conflicts that arise and how I manage them:
Practice Night Vs. School Function
Questions to consider: Is the activity optional? Is this the LAST opportunity they will have to go to the function? Is this activity more important than the fact that I am PAYING money for them to play sports and attend these practices? Does my child want to go to this activity? Do I want my child to go to this activity? If it is an optional activity and my child doesn’t want to go, then we always vote for sports practices. If it is an optional activity and my child does want to go, we first see if there is any way to do both (leave practice a little early/arrive at the function a little late) and if not, I let my child go to the school activity. One missed practice is not going to make that big of a difference and most coaches will understand.
Practice Night Vs. Family Function
Questions to consider: Do I want to be around this family? HAHA! Just kidding to all my family that might be reading these posts! How important is this family function? Obviously, I don’t want to put your kid’s sports practice before my parents’ silver anniversary party but if it’s a last-minute family dinner, I pick sports practice. Again I also see if there is any way to attend both activities. Generally, we try to put family functions first but hope that they will understand if it is a practice we feel we MUST attend. I personally hate for my boys to miss the first practice of any sport because that is where we get most of the important information.
2 Kids, 2 Practice Nights at the Same Time in Different Locations
This one has never happened to us with practices but I know plenty of parents who have had to deal with this one. First of all, if you can, sign your children up with a friend (hopefully, you have made friends with some of the parents of your child’s friends). It is always nice to have a friend available if you need help not to mention someone to talk to during the practices and games. It is also an added incentive for your child to want to actually go to the practices! My only other solution here is for a relative or spouse to help out so you can divide and conquer.
2 kids, 2 Games at the Same Time in Different Locations
The answer is pretty much the same as above except you may need to draw straws to see who gets to go to what game if you and your spouse are going the divide and conquer route. Usually, we can work things out so that we see the beginning or end of a game though. The sneaky way I’ve avoided this conflict lately is that my boys have the same soccer coach! He has two teams in two age divisions which just happens to work out perfectly for us since he can’t be in two places at once…
The Game Vs. The Birthday Party
Question to consider: Does my child want to go to this birthday party? Most kids are going to want to go the birthday parties but not always. I usually let my kid attend the birthday party because to deny a child a chance to go to a birthday party and force them to play in the game is probably a pretty good way to make them hate that sport or activity! Since I spend a lot of time stressing the whole “we committed to be a part of this team” stuff and it can be tricky to flip and say “Nevermind all that other stuff, you can go!”, we do work hard to figure out if there is a way to do both. Do let the coach know ahead of time that your child will be arriving late/leaving early/or not showing up at all.
Your Activity vs. The Game
I want you to read my next sentence twice. The world will not end if you miss one of your kids’ games! Most sports have at least 8 games in a given season and missing one is not going to get you the Bad Parent Award. My husband and I do go to most of our boys’ games but there are a few times when we miss the games (or practices) for our own activities. The kids don’t get overly upset and are usually happy to share game details with us later.
What scheduling conflicts have you had to conquer regarding your children’s activities?