Are your kids burnt out from all their activities? Are you burnt out? Are you tired of driving from soccer to karate to violin class? Have you had to decide between Scouts, sports, or music? If the thought of getting to all your kids’ extra activities stresses you out, you may be overextending yourself and your kids.
Sure, we all want our kids to be well-rounded. We’ve been told that if they do more activities that will help them do better in life. However, parents sometimes may not realize that we’re not giving our kids time to just be kids.
School takes up eight hours a day. Then we tack on soccer three days a week and on Saturdays, piano lessons once a week and don’t forget to practice daily, and of course Cub Scouts once a week. All that is just one kid, what if you have two or three or four busy with extras? Then they have to come home and do homework, so when exactly are they being kids? When are they just playing with friends in the neighborhood or building with LEGOS?
Kids need free time. Kids need time to just be kids and engage with other kids with no end game. They need time to be creative on their own. Kids need time with their parents. If we are so busy with extracurriculars are they getting these things?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are your kids’ extracurricular activities causing you to give up other family obligations?
- Do you have family dinners or eat on the go?
- Are you doing more with or for the kids than your spouse?
- Does this activity teach life skills your child can use as adults? Is it about playing soccer or are they really learning about teamwork and socialization?
- Is the activity or activities costing too much money?
- Do they enjoy the activity?
- Is it something you want your child to do or is it something they really want to do?
It is important to consider your children and their well-being. If they aren’t happy playing baseball, why are you making them play? Don’t forget that activities aren’t always bad, but they aren’t as important as time spent with family. Make sure your kids’ activities aren’t overwhelming or causing unnecessary fatigue.
How do you decide how many extra activities your child is part of?