| Hi Taylor
- My 10-year-old son has a lot of time after school and I'm trying
to keep him involved in various activities. Any ideas for how to do
this affordably? Everything seems so expensive!
Hi Marjorie - Things don't seem expensivethey are expensive.
On top of the food and clothes parents have to buy, the extracurricular
activities add a heavy burden to your monthly bill. With three kids
of my own, I also feel the sting on this one. Here are some thoughts
that might alleviate the financial pressure.
If you start looking into afterschool programs, you'll find that
most of them aren't free but a lot of them offer financial assistance.
Many non-profits that provide youth services do a lot of fundraising
with the sole intention of helping parents cover enrollment costs.
There's never any shame in applying for a scholarship, especially
if that's the difference in whether or not your son gets involved.
Sports, performing arts, martial artsthere's a good chance
you can apply for a little aid and make any of these activities
much more budget-friendly.
2. Volunteer/Internship. We associate this kind of work
with older kids, but there are volunteering opportunities for
kids as young as five. It might sound like pure work, but I've
seen kids have a great time cleaning up and planting urban gardens
and doing nature programs that focus on restoring habitats. Our
kids get a lot out of the time they spend helping at our church,
which is another great option. There might be a mental block where
you're only thinking about paid activities like rec league sports
or piano lessons. Remind yourself that volunteer work can be just
as fun and much more rewarding.
3. Invent a club. Your son is right at the age where he
and his friends might start their own club with a little parental
supervision. Soccer club, inventors club, box car clubwhatever
he's interested in, that can become a weekly or biweekly activity
without any kind of enrollment fee. You'll have to lay some of
the groundwork, either offering the garage with a "No Parents
Allowed" sign for a few hours a week or purchasing some supplies,
but that could be all it takes to launch a little program that
keeps kids busy for years to come. Being in charge means a lot
to a 10-year-old, so give as much ownership of the idea as possible
and see where things go!
| Sometimes it
feels easier to just pay for an activity and not have to think about
it, but those costs add up way too fast. If you put a little extra
effort into researching what's available in your areaor starting
something newyou'll save money and might find a really special
activity for your kid. Good luck, Marjorie!
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