Do you ever feel like all you do is sit around waiting for your kids to get out of one practice or another? It’s like you’re constantly stuck wasting precious time that could be spent more productively otherwise. You’re not part of the coaching team, so you’re not participating in the practice, but you also don’t have enough time to go home and get anything done, making it feel like you’re just wasting time. This catch-22 pretty much leaves you forced to wait it out and do nothing. Or does it?
The next time you are cooling your heels waiting for practice to end, consider some of these practical ways to spend your time.
- Get some exercise. Put on some tennis shoes and go for a walk. You can easily get in a 30 minute walk during most practices – if not longer. Make sure you warm up and stretch a little before you start walking. Your heart and waistline will thank you for the extra exercise.
- Run some errands. Busy parents frequently feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, so why not take advantage of the hour or so that your child will be at practice and use that time to run a few errands? Switch to a dry cleaner that is close to the practice location so you are able to drop it off and pick it up conveniently. Visit a nearby store where you can look for gift items on sale that you can put in your gift closet, that way the next time you need to grab a gift for a birthday party in a hurry you have plenty of options on hand. Take this time to read some greeting cards and stock up on what you will need for any upcoming birthdays or holidays.
- Catch up on the news. Buy a newspaper and actually take the time to read it. If you get bored reading the news you can probably find a crossword puzzle or a jumble to solve. There may even be sale ads that you can use to plan your next shopping trip.
- Read a good book. Have you been hearing about the latest best seller and thought to yourself that you’ll never have the time to sit down and read it? You actually do have the time to read a few chapters if you utilize the time spent at practices to read. Keep the book in your bag or car and the next time you have a few minutes during practice you can pull out the book and see if it lives up to the hype that everyone has built it up to be.
- Start a new hobby. There are many different hobbies that can be done with minimal supplies while you are sitting at a practice. For instance, if you want to preserve your photos you can take up scrapbooking. While waiting on the side of the field or sitting in the car you can crop pictures, decide which pictures will go into what spread, decide on the layout etc. You could also take up knitting or crocheting.
- Sharpen your mind. There are a lot of handheld video games that will challenge your brain. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying a video game, you can also buy a paperback puzzle book with brain teasers, word jumbles, crossword puzzles or Sudoku.
- Catch up with a friend. According to WebMD, talking to friends is a great way to relieve stress. Many mobile phone plans have unlimited minutes or rollover minutes that will allow you to chat without worrying about if you’re going over your minutes.
- Meditate. Finding time to meditate in a quiet place is often difficult when you have kids. The car would be a suitable place to meditate if you’re going to be sitting in there by yourself anyway. You can use this alone time to center yourself and find a deeper calm through different visualization techniques or by doing some deep breathing exercises while you wait. If you are afraid you will fall asleep, set the alarm on your phone.
- Do homework with a sibling. If you have a younger sibling with you, this is the perfect time to get in some one on one time with them to go over reading, spelling or math facts. She can bring along whatever homework she has to a practice with a clipboard and pencil, and she can have your undivided attention for the duration of the practice.
- Write in a journal. Either write down your thoughts from the day or keep a specialized journal. Some people like to keep a prayer journal, others keep a food journal, and some people like to keep a gratitude journal, just to name a few. If you have any interest in writing stories, this could be the perfect time to spend some time writing out some story ideas or working on the actual story.
The main thing to remember is that the time spent waiting for practice to be over doesn’t have to be wasted time; it can be put to good use. Imagine how much healthier you could be, both physically and mentally, if you spent 30 minutes taking a brisk walk, 30 minutes meditating, and 30 minutes journaling each week.