OK~ As I was in my favorite love, hate store the other day, Wal-Mart. I realized that people are knee deep in Back To School Shopping. I thought to my self, "Wow, I don't have to worry about that this year." Thinking back to how stressed out Back To School shopping is for parents, and why is that?
Parents receive a packet in the mail about a month before school actually starts. That's when families start to analyze their family budget and how things will work out. Books and registration fees can be pricey, especially if you have several kids. Our local public school district sets a limit of somewhere around $150.00 per family. That makes a huge difference, as opposed to each child being around the $50- $70 range just for registration.
Fall brings a new season of sports. Our boys were never involved in any Fall sports so this was something we never had to worry about. I overheard a Mom in Wal-Mart telling another Mom that she could not believe how much all of these extra things were going to cost her. Well, in the back of my mind I was thinking, "If it's costing you that much, then maybe you need to have a talk with your child to see if this activity is something they really need."
Now this goes back to 30+ years ago and one could argue that we lived in a different time, which is true. My parents set a limit of what my brother, sister and I could be involved in. That included school activities and out of school activities. We could choose 3 activities. Can you imagine the uproar that kids would have today if they were told that? My parents believed that if they set a limit, we would choose three things and give it our best shot. And guess what, it worked!
Our boys were never involved in a lot of extra school activities, good or bad. Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts was a big part of their lives for several years. High School Trapshooting was the one thing our youngest son participated in all four years of high school. Maybe they missed out, I don't know. What I do know is that I have two hardworking, responsible young adults that turned out OK. And I did not find myself complaining about the cost of school supplies, as it was a necessity.
So..... do you set limits as to what your kids can be involved in and how do you budget for the activities? I'm thinking a lot of folks could use your advice! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?