How to Maintain Multiple Cheer Schedules

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As the Mom of three girls who are All-Star cheerleaders, the majority of our family’s time is spent shuttling one child or another to practice, private lessons or one of their other extra curricular activities. Needless to say, it is a constant struggle to stay organized (and sane!). Because my girls cheer on three different teams at two different gyms, their father and I have had to become very creative at time management for our family. Only after a few hiccups, have we found what works for us, what we have to avoid and most importantly, how to make sure we set aside some quality family time outside the world of cheering.

Planning for the week

I like to compare my girls weekly cheer schedules to something like running a marathon. Uphill. The ENTIRE way! Seriously, some days it takes a massive effort to try and keep up. We are very lucky that in addition to my husband and I, their grandparents can help out with running them back and forth. Most families don’t have additional help so, what I suggest is mapping out the week for everyone in your family. Each person has their own chart, which lists their activities, times and descriptions for a specific day. This includes the parents. It is helpful for the girls to know where we are at any given time too, whether it is at work or with one of their siblings. In some cases, it also provides for a little bit of stability because with the charts in front of us, we at least know what to expect and which days may be a little crazier than others. In our house, we have actually consolidated our five schedules onto one white board. I know, crazy right? I still make individual charts for our cars and for the grandparents but that white board is so nice because if something changes last minute, I don’t have to retype a chart, I just add it to the board and everyone is happy. Easy peasy!

Things to avoid

Of course, you will always have those weeks where no amount of planning on a chart or whiteboard can help you. They are the pull-your-hair-out and scream weeks where your child forgot to tell you that the fundraiser was due yesterday or that the coach changed the choreography time to Saturday, when you were planning to go away. Trying to avoid schedule changes when your child is on an All-Star squad is futile. They will happen and there may be many. You basically just have to roll with it and be flexible because there is no way to avoid it. Deal with the things that you can control. For example, if a practice runs later than usual and you know your child will be hungry afterwards, make sure to bring a healthy snack for them. That way, when they do finally get out of the gym, you won’t be tempted to stop for fast food, which may make them even more tired. Over scheduling is something else that should be avoided. Every child needs to have different interests outside of cheering however, if you and they both agree that cheering is their current priority, then other activities may need to temporarily take a back seat. A tired, overly scheduled child is more at risk for injuring themselves at the gym and also, quite frankly, is no fun to be around!

Making time for yourself

I wish I could say I always set aside time during the week and in between practices to do something for myself but, that is definitely not the case. I feel lucky when I get to sit down at 9pm and maybe read for half an hour before passing out from exhaustion. I know this is something I need to get better at. I mean, honestly, we do so much for our kids that we deserve to treat ourselves too! Recently, because my youngest daughter’s practices are closed to parents, I’ve started going with some other cheer Moms to dinner or even just out for coffee. This does get expensive so, more than likely I try to find a WiFi signal somewhere and do some work. As far as family time goes, our weekends are mostly spent trying to catch up with each other and just relax. Even our girls have commented how nice it is when we can all sit down together for a meal! Family time doesn’t have to cost a lot. It can be as simple as a movie night at home. What makes it rewarding is the time spent together.

As competition season approaches, I know we are going to start experiencing a whole new level of crazy. Luckily, this is our norm. The intensity of the practices and the constant changes to our cheer schedules is actually expected now. Not everything will always go as planned but by trying to avoid some last minute changes through communicating with our girls and their coaches, we are hoping to have a pretty awesome cheer season!

 

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Jessica Gauthier-Simpson

Jessica is a proud Cheer Mom to her three All Star daughters. She is a full-time educator and event planner who divides her time daily between running her daughters to school, dance and two different cheer gyms. When she is not listening to cheer music or spending time with her girls, Jess likes to relax with her husband, family and friends.

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