Are Your Kids Too Busy? Learn to Find Balance in the Chaos

There are more activities than ever for kids to be involved in, and parents (and students) are often looking to get the edge by being well-rounded and experienced doing a little bit of everything. But where do you draw the line when it comes to soccer practice, dance lessons, art classes, horseback riding, and everything else? At some point, it can become too much, and your child may suffer.

Recognizing Signs of Overscheduling

Just like adults can get burned out and overwhelmed with their jobs and responsibilities, children can too. It’s important to recognize the signs that you may need to rethink what activities your child participates in to find better balance.

· They have no down time — and don’t know what to do when they do.

Is your child’s life go-go-go and they have never have time just to lay around and watch a movie, play video games, or make crafts just for fun? That can be a problem. Kids need unstructured time to unwind and be kids. While you may be adamant about limiting screen time, a little bit each day won’t hurt, and there are plenty of other things they can do too.

Another sign that they’re overscheduled can be that they don’t know what to do with free time and look to you to tell them. Children should be able to use their imagination and find ways to entertain themselves without having every minute planned.

· They’re exhausted or complain of headaches or stomachaches.

Sound familiar? These symptoms can come about due to stress and anxiety, which could stem from always being on the move and taking on too many activities. Your child’s sleep may suffer because their brain is too stimulated come evening to settle down and let them sleep, or they may be getting up early to finish last-minute work. Not eating a well-balanced diet and skipping meals or eating too quickly could be a culprit too.

· They spend less time with friends.

Are there fewer sleepovers, phone calls, and trips to the movies or mall with friends? This could be because your child simply feels they don’t have time for these things anymore. They’re too busy with a multitude of other activities. However, building and maintaining friendships is important for their mental, social, and emotional health.

· Their grades are suffering.

You know your child is an excellent student, yet their grades have begun to drop. With evenings and weekends packed with practices, lessons, and games, they may be having trouble finding time to study or finish assignments.

Finding Balance

If these signs sound familiar, it’s time to re-evaluate your child’s schedule. Talk to them about what activities they enjoy the most and which ones they are not as interested in. Not everything can be a priority, and you may have to be firm and make tough decisions. Consider how the time requirements of different activities impact your child’s schedule, then let them pick one or two that they really want to do. They may decide to switch from season to season or year to year.

Make sure their day includes free time as well. Unstructured time where they can use their imagination, ride their bike, play games, draw, or read for fun. They need this time to relax and unwind, and you do too! They shouldn’t be spending most of their time in the car.

And if they are struggling in school, Crafting Scholars can help them build sound academic habits that fit their needs and support success. Find a happy medium between academics and extracurriculars so your child can thrive.