Creating Balance and Not Over-Scheduling Kids
Is your child over-scheduled? Children do better if you help them to exercise wisdom with the choices they are offered. Today’s child has more choices with after-school activities than children did years ago. And with the general rule of all children being included often means there will be no tryouts (in most cases) for sports teams and such children can become involved in anything they want. Pay the fee and they’re in with all the practices and games/ performances. Creating balance in their life it important for a happy child.
Here’s an example: Say your child wants to play soccer, run cross-country, and play tennis. These three sports occur at the same time. If this child is allowed to do all three, will there be good balance in their time? The answer is a resounding no. All three will result multiple after school practices. All three will have multiple games, all three may conflict. Some parents let children take on this much activity to the detriment of the child’s well-being. Because there is no way a child can physically and mentally keep up with this many activities and do a good job with school work.
You, the parent, must make boundaries and teach your child proper balance. Sure, they may equally love and enjoy playing three sports at the same time, but will they be able to give their chosen activity their all? Sometimes, we need to encourage our children to make sacrifices and choose just one extra activity so they can give one hundred percent of their focus and still have time for school work. As tough as that sounds, the child will do better in both schoolwork and in the sport or club or activity.
Be an example. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Parents sometimes volunteer for things that takes their time away from family. Limit your own volunteer work and lead by example. Sometimes I’ve had to yell halt to everything I had going on so I could be a better parent. If your child sees you tackling more than you can handle, they think it’s okay for them to do so too.
Help your child make the right choice in what they do with their time. Encourage them to focus on one activity at a time and make it a rule, only one sports/ club/ or whatever takes up a lot of time with practices and performances. You know your child better than anyone else, help them to choose the activity according to their talents and skills and strengths. Equip them for success rather than saddle them with too much for mediocre or failure.
Set a good schedule and stick to it. Create times for doing certain things, allowing plenty of time for homework and self-care. You may need to adjust this as the seasons go by because depending upon your child’s chosen activity they will have different practice/performance times. Take the practice/ play/performance schedule and incorporate the seasonal schedules into your household schedule. If your child is busy until late at night, make sure the following day, or as soon as possible after that, they have enough time for down time, to rest, to catch up on homework. You have control over this part and you need to create an environment that helps the child succeed at what they are doing/ playing/ etc.
You will have busy seasons, times where there won’t be a spare moment for anything. Making life flow easier will be the key in getting through these times. Have meals made ahead of time so nutrition won’t suffer because of it. Keep the atmosphere calm and encourage your child to take the busy season in stride. If your child shows they can’t handle their current schedule, make better plans for the next season, choosing activities that won’t need as much time or as demanding on the schedule.