Back to Busy: Budgeting Family Time During the School Year


I’ll never forget when a mom a few years down the road of life informed me that life gets busier as children get older. I couldn’t comprehend her statement at the time, because my life with three little kids seemed so hectic! However, when my firstborn started kindergarten along with gymnastics and piano lessons, I quickly learned how true this was.

The start of a new school year brings new schedules and routines. The demands of homework, projects and extracurricular activities can weigh heavily on children and families. Research is showing that teens are struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression at much higher rates than were experienced 30 years ago, which can be attributed in part to the added pressures of this new “do more, be more” society.

Time is valuable resource. Unlike money, you can’t earn more time. Therefore, it is wise to know how you are spending your family’s time. One way to do this is to create a “time budget” for your family.

How to create a “Time Budget” for your family:

  • Calculate how many hours per week your family has outside of sleeping, work and school.

  • Budget time for extracurricular activities based on how much time is left for family priorities, whether it be meals together (top of our list), family game nights/movie nights or other special family activities.

  • Reassess often. How is your schedule affecting your child/family? Does your child seem cranky or tired? Is it becoming difficult for him/her to get schoolwork finished? We realized that first year of kindergarten, doing both gymnastics and ballet was too much for our kiddo to handle, so we stopped gymnastics. This year (she’s in second grade), we are going to try again but on a Friday, so she can have the whole weekend to rest and recover (with no homework requirements).

What activities will your children be doing this school year?
How do you balance your family time?