Overloaded Schedules!

Guest post by:  Darren Smith

Soccer Practice, Ballet, and Piano – Oh My! How much is Too Much for Your Child?

Today’s kids are more active than ever before. And much of their activities take place in the precious
and scant few hours after school. Soccer practice, ballet lessons, piano lessons, karate, cheerleading,
and the list goes on and on and on… but how much is too much? Is it even healthy for your child to
participate in so many activities at once? Many students pull hours and hours each week, participating
in extracurricular activities. Many parents worry that their students are doing too much, and they may
be right.

Limiting after School Activities

While extracurricular activities are definitely important, children are just that – children. And although
they may be full of energy, a schedule that is too full can become overwhelming for your child. If
your child’s afterschool activities are monopolizing too much of his time, leaving him little room for
homework or family, then your child needs to scale down the activities that he participates in.

When determining if your child is overloaded, take a look at how much your child is doing and how
much time it takes to participate in each activity. Review the child’s daily schedule. How many hours are
available after school each week, before bedtime? How many of those hours are “filled” already? Does
your child have time for other important things, like eating dinner, doing his homework, playing with his
friends, performing chores, watching TV, and reading? If you have a very active child, chances are good
that the answer is no.

Importance of Family Time

When a child is overscheduled, family time is at a minimum. Families must have time each day to
communicate, converse, and interact. This strengths the family bond! If your child is too busy, then
revising the child’s activities and cutting back on some of the after school “stuff” that he is involved
in is important! Work with your child to whittle his activity list down to just the top things that he
enjoys doing. Allow the cuts that you make to his schedule to be approved by him so that he doesn’t
feel deprived. You may be surprised to find out that your child is grateful that he can scale back his
activities, as all too often a child is participating in a particular activity just to impress his parents – like
a particular sport, for instance, that he knows his dad loves. Let your child know that he doesn’t have
to do anything to impress you and that you don’t expect him to participate in activities that don’t really
interest him.

You’ll find that reducing the number of things your child must do each week can relieve some of the
pressure on him (and on his taxi driver, a.k.a. Mom or Dad) so that the entire family is happier!

Darren Smith’s current project involves creating & promoting a people search help website. To get started, visit this free people search article which contains 25 free people search engines for finding someone online.

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  1. You’re so right. Parents are running so many different places they don’t even know what day it is! We’re party planners, so we see this manifest at parties. The norm used to be that you went to one party and stayed there enjoying the festivities. Now, parents jump from party to party. Sometimes as many as 3 per day! Drop off the gift, grab cake, and go! Time to slow down and just enjoy some time with the kids.