Activities like sports, art classes, and musical lessons at earlier ages offer kids a great chance to discover and explore their interests. Most of all, they’re fun! But the key is to keep them in a way that kids aren’t overwhelmed and exhausted.
Now a days parents wish to see their children excel in multiple areas and therefore kids are enrolled into various extracurricular activities.
So how do you know if you are enriching your child’s life or overscheduling them?
To help you find a good balance for your child, below are some key points to consider.
- Plan 1 activity per season. For instance, schedule the classes two times a week during regular days.
- During vacations – Enrol into the various camps that are offered ( Summer camp, winter camp etc) close by.
- Being overinvolved with every activity they participate may lead to lesser attention academically. Its better to drop an activity when academics needs more time.
Allot reasonable time
Set reasonable timing for extracurricular activities depending on kid’s age and interests. Try to balance activities by having periods of downtime in between activity to activity.
Children need unstructured time to relax themselves. Let them play or relax in whatever way they want. Sometimes this unstructured time helps them in exploring and learning on their own.
Give family time
Your relationship with the child is equally important for his/her emotional development. Don’t compromise on family time for extracurricular activities as they will miss the chance to learn and develop a bond with the family.
Have a bar with your expectations
Every child is different –
- Never compare with peers.
- See if the child is enjoying and liking the activity
- Encourage the child to practice 1 activity at least for a certain amount of time.
Signs of being overscheduled
Pay attention to your child’s responses to his/her overscheduled routine. Anything should not take a toll on their emotional, physical and mental health.
- Reluctance towards the activity
- Shows sign of avoiding the activity with various excuses
- Feel tired or anxious
- Feel sleepy during the day or lack of sleep at night
- Complain of headaches and stomachaches, which may be due to stress.
- Loss of appetite or they’ve started missing meals
If you feel your child shows any of these; eliminate 10% of the activities right now.
Keep a calendar to mark the entire month schedule. If you find all days fully occupied on the calendar, make some empty space by deleting some activities. Just do nothing on these days to give kids the much-needed break.
Know if it’s really joyful
Look at how much your child is enjoying his/her overall routine. If your child is comfortable and happy even with being involved in multiple activities, then you probably don’t have to worry.