What are you thinking right now? All sorts of thoughts could be running through your mind as you consider this question.
“I want them to have what I never did,” could be one defensive but reassuring thought. Or “am I piling on too much stress,” could be the doubting-my-parenting skills reaction.
The honest answer is: It depends.
Let’s look at this topic from several sides and then you can decide if your kid is too busy.
The Two Extremes
Picture the kid sitting in his room with his face in his phone or playing video games all day. He never gets any exercise, goes outside, or has any physical activities with friends.
Now picture the child who literally never stops. They go from early morning sports practice to school, to piano lessons, to doing homework (if they can stay awake)and then to bed. The next day it starts all over with different activities. Weekends are full of soccer tournaments and swimming lessons. It bears repeating; they never stop.
Most parents will insist they would not want the first child to be theirs and may think this over-scheduled child is a healthy lifestyle. Others may think it’s a bit much.
So obviously, finding a balance is the answer. Well, let’s see.
Finding The Balance
Finding the proverbial balance depends primarily on the parents and their priorities. This constitutes what’s important for your children, the family as a whole, and you.
It could be:
- Having dinner together at least 4 times a week.
- Raising a happy and healthy family with lots of love, hugs, and smiles.
- Giving your children the opportunities you never had.
- Being there every night to tuck them in bed.
- Having your children understand they can tell you anything, and no matter what they do, you will still love them.
- Getting agreement from your spouse on these priorities.
Once you know your own non-negotiables and priorities, it might be easier to keep the balance in your kid’s activities.
When Enough Is Enough
Anything that interferes or conflicts with your set priorities should be evaluated. There are some signs:
- Watch out for your children replacing enthusiasm for their activities with regimentation
- Count the number of meals you had together last week.
- Your children are turning into “grumpy old men” with aches and pains, mood swings, headaches, and less smiles.
- Dropping grades. Be especially vigilant about watching out for depression.
- Children getting up early in the morning to finish homework from the night before, which often means that they are not getting sufficient sleep.
- Are you turning off your own screen distractions to play games, hug, watch a movie together, and is there time to do it?
- You or your spouse is becoming stressed from schlepping the kids back and forth.
Only you will know if your child is truly over-scheduled.
If you begin to think YES, then explain why something has to go. If they disagree, ask them to present you with alternative options. In the end, raising a happy healthy child in today’s world is not easy, and there are no easy solutions, but communication can be a great tool in helping to keep your family in balance.
If you have concerns in Centennial, Colorado that your child may be stressed from over-scheduling, contact Pediatrics 5280 about possible solutions today!