Yesterday I introduced the topic for the rest of the week, The Cost of Raising Healthy Kids. I naïvely summarized all that needs to be done into 4 simple categories (no, I am not saying this is all you need to do, but it is easier to write about this way). I will try not to argue the health issues, however, I will argue the financial aspect of these 4 concepts.
Make sure the kids are active at school in sports
When I was a kid, school sports and Gym was where you got in shape and where you stayed in shape. Good things like the Canadian Fitness Test and intramural floor hockey were staples for me to get my exercise during high school and I really enjoyed myself. As has been pointed out a lot of road hockey helped during the summer as well.
Do kids today have this kind of access? Kind of, governments are starting to figure out that maybe it would be good for kids to have Gym more often and make it mandatory for more of their academic career and that I applaud, and think it is a good idea.
Intramural? That depends on whether the school has teachers and/or parents willing to help run these programs, and I would bet there are some schools that either don’t have the equipment or volunteers to do it either.
In I Thought Public School Was Free? I outlined some of my costs of having kids on the competitive teams at their High School. Now I know at my kid’s school if there are kids who want to play that can’t afford it, there are attempts to help them out, but the kids’ parents have to be willing to ask for help as well. Having kids in these kind of activities no longer simply consist of buying them a pair of running shoes, it is some major moneys, and that is for school teams.
Sign them up for sports at home in their spare time
I do this for my kids, because I believe that if I left my kids to their own devices, they’d get into trouble (idle hands are the devils work, for lack of a better explanation).
My daughters play basketball, where if they play for in the house league this will cost about $150-$200 (and shoes another $100 or so). Most of these leagues will offer financial help, again if the parents ask for it.
If my girls make competitive teams, now we are going up a level in costs, double the team fees to pay for tournaments, and league dues. Shoes and such are the same cost, however, now they travel out-of-town 2-5 times over 7 months, where I have to pay to get them there, to stay in a hotel and to feed yourself. I budget at least $1200 for this (per child), which is conservative.
What if my daughters played hockey? In the words of Paulie Walnuts in the Sopranos, “Fugget about it!”, that is another level higher, just for house league, and if my son wants to play, it is even more insane. I won’t quote numbers, because I really don’t know (if anyone cares to comment, please feel free to enlighten, or shock us).
If your child (or children) play more than one sport, this is all additive, remember. Yup the Government has introduced a $500 write off for active kids (per child), which is very welcome, but it does not stop me from spending the money, and $500 is a small portion of the money going out as well.
Yes, I willingly pay this, because I think my kids want to do this (I do ask, “Are you having fun?”, because if they aren’t why am I paying this much money?), and because I think it is important too, but if I didn’t have the money to pay for it, what would my kids be doing?
- Limit their TV and Video Games
- Limit their intake of junk food