Extracurricular Activities - Scheduling...

Updated on August 17, 2012
T.M. asks from Tampa, FL
10 answers

I am looking to find another activity for my 4 and 6 year olds to do. They already do swimming lessons and we plan to continue. However, I have been looking at places like YMCA for T-ball/basketball for my 6 year old son and gymnastics/dance for my 4 year old daughter. I am finding that many classes seem to start at 3-4 in the afternoon. That schedule isn't doable since I work full time. For the group sports, it doesn't appear that the schedule for practices and games is established until AFTER you sign up. I was told today that the coaches at the YMCA get together about a week before each season to decide this.

I'd like to avoid activities that require practices that go from 6-8 p.m. My personal belief is that is just too much for younger kids. They both will be in school and I will need to allocate plenty of time for homework and rest. Is this standard for scheduling of activities? How does everyone else handle activities?

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So What Happened?

Good responses. I was actually looking for something that is primarily on Saturdays. If weeknight, I wouldn't want to do something that had more than a one-hour practice. It just seems like 2 hours is just too much for this age.

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answers from Chicago on

Weekends! :) That's what those who work (that I know) do.
Sorry you are excluded from the other ones.

More Answers


answers from Spokane on

If 3-4 is too early and 6-8 is too late, what time exactly are you looking for?
I work full-time too and completely understand how hard it is. My husband works swing shift most of the year so it's just me and the 2 boys in the evening. I have found baseball, football, basketball, swimming, cub scouts and soccer tots classes that are all in the evening and weekend. They are out there. Check the Y, county parks and rec and even ask some other parents from school to see which programs their kids are in.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We allowed the kids one activity per semester when they were younger. We did not always have them on weekends, and we worked FT so we went for things like riding lessons or boys and girls club football with a defined start time after school/work. If we needed to shift, it was usually do able for one of us to take the kid to the activity every other week (trading off) with the jobs we had. If the hours don't work right now, then maybe rethink the desire to have them in another activity at this point. Kids need down time, too.


answers from San Francisco on

It really depends on where you live.
I never had a problem finding Saturday morning gymnastic and dance classes for my kids, there are plenty of options for that around here.
Our kids' youth teams (soccer, basketball, baseball) are volunteer coached, and most of the coaches are working parents so the practices are generally in the 5 to 7 PM range one or two nights a week, and games on Saturdays.
Your best bet is to ask around, ask the parents at your school, the parents of your son's friends, especially those already involved in sports, they can give you the scoop.
And if you think they are too young for this kind of schedule then just wait a few years. My kids did a whole lot better with organized sports at 7/8 than they did at 5/6. Maturity plays a large part in the actual enjoyment of the activity!
My daughter is now 13 and a competitive gymnast, so she works out three nights a week, from 5:30 to 8:30. She NEVER would have been able to do that as a younger kid, and it IS challenging with middle school homework but she loves it :)


answers from Grand Forks on

We've always scheduled activities for after dinner. The kids get home from school at 4:00pm, then they get an hour or so to relax and play until dinner. Dinner from 5:00 to 6:00pm, then activities from 6:00 to 8:00pm, homework from 8:00 to 9:00pm, then relax until bedtime at 10:00pm. They don't have to wake up until 8:00am. They don't have activities every night, but usually three nights a week. Works for us. Our YMCA often has activities scheduled from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, and it doesn't work at all because the kids are starving!


answers from Tampa on

I was at glazers las weekend and there was all kinds of sports people there and they had some that practice and play on Saturdays. Maybe look up something like that


answers from San Francisco on

My then-6 year old had a dance class from 6:15 - 7:45pm on a school night all last year. Then with the 25 minute drive home, it was past her bedtime before we even got home. Yeah, that was too late in the day for a class of kids that age. Even the dance teacher said that he felt the kids were just plain tired by the end of class. We provided that feedback to the dance studio, and this year, the class goes from 5:15 - 6:45. Much better!

From what I've noticed, yes, activities either run from 3-ish until 4-ish (which is a no-go for most working families), or they start around 6 and end when the kids need to be in bed, which works for the parents, but not for the kids. Sigh. My only suggestion is to sign them up for the activities when you think it would be best for them (earlier in the day) and then get a carpool together. That's what we have done this year for dance classes (one of my working mom friends can't get her daughter to the studio by 5:15 on a Wednesday, so I drive everyone that day, and for the Saturday classes, she drives). This is when it starts taking a village to raise a child - when they start with after-school activities! ;)


answers from Kansas City on

A lot of coaches are working parents as well. It's just as hard for us as it is you too!

I don't really have any ideas since you can't go before 5 and don't want after 6.

We handle because we have to(correction we want our kids to do these things because they do). Our daughters soccer coach doesn't have practice beyond 7:15 no matter what on a school night. Girl Scouts goes til 7:30...bedtime is 8:30...we make it most nights but pay for it in the morning as if they didn't bath/shower the night before we have to get up early to do so.

Depends on what you want to do. Just remember, if you don't like the ways others schedule...you can always join us and volunteer your time too!


answers from Dallas on

My girls both do soccer through the Y and have for years. The practices have never interfered with our work schedules, the coaches are volunteer and have full time jobs as well, so they are very accommodating. Usually the practice is from 6:00 or 6:30 and last about an hour. The games are almost always on weekends. Only time they are scheduled during the week is to make up a rained out game, and it's always in the evening.

We also do Taekwondo, and their lessons are in the evening (after 6, ending no later than 7:30).



answers from Oklahoma City on

Usually from 4-8pm is the time that coaches and activities during the week happen.

The Y should have a lot of their practices during the week and games might be on Saturday's. That's the way ours works anyway.

Once you get into real sports, the city leagues and other rec leagues you will often have the same coach year after year. Then you know what is expected from the coach's and can plan your schedules all the time.

I know my friends son has been on the same soccer team for 7 years and they always practice on Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 -6:30 when they were younger and now it's until 7. The kids eat a small meal for snacks when they get home from school that will sustain them until dinner which is after practice is over.

We do all sorts of dance and stuff but it is all from 4-8. There's no other time they can do it. Kids can't be taken out of school to do them. Parents who work don't get home until 5:30 or 6 so almost all practices and other activities are scheduled for that 6-8 time frame.

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