Most parents have become accustomed to running from soccer practice, to theater club, and to art class. Though it can be exhausting, we parents are willing to do it so that our kids can continue doing the things that they love. However, there are only so many hours in the day and, even if they never say anything, an overly hectic schedule can negatively impact your child’s physical and mental health. As such, it’s important to ensure that your child is not too busy so that they still have time to relax and recharge.
How do you know if your child is too busy?
Most children will never simply tell you that they are too busy. Instead, they will often insist on doing as many activities as possible because that’s where they get to see their friends, or because they want to add their activities onto a college application. However, there are some telltale signs you can watch out for which may indicate that your child is too busy, such as:
- Falling behind on school work, failing classes, or poor grades.
- Skipping meals.
- Lack of sleep.
- Regular headaches or stomachaches.
Though there are of course other potential causes for all of these issues, you should consider that it may be due to being over-scheduled. Of course, if the symptoms persist beyond what is normal, you should consult with your family doctor.
How can you reduce your child’s schedule while still allowing them to do the things they enjoy?
Like many things in life, your child’s activities should be all about moderation. Some potential solutions might include:
- Keeping a calendar: Simply having a visual reminder of the busy week ahead can be a great way to remind yourself to slow down every now and then. A calendar is also a huge help when it comes to reducing the stress caused by scheduling and planning.
- Setting clear limits ahead of time: Children love to be involved in activities and will often agree to take part in just about any club or sport that is available. Before long, they will be signed up to participate in ten different activities- which simply isn’t feasible. As such, it helps to set boundaries ahead of time. For example, tell your child they can join a maximum of three clubs or teams a semester to help prevent excess stress.
- Blocking out a family night: Don’t just schedule activities – schedule relaxation too. Scheduling family time in advance means it is more likely to actually happen so set aside one night a week as family night. Cook a nice meal, enjoy a movie, or play some board games together. No matter what you do, just remember to relax and have fun together.
Though activities should still remain an important part of your child’s life, it is vital to remember that they need time to relax as well. By following some of the advice in this article you should soon find yourself with happier, more well rested children.