Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Talk About It Tuesday: Are Your Kids Doing Too Much?

We all want our kids to participate in some sort of extracurricular activity. As long as they choose something that they are interested in and brings out the best in them, it's wonderful. But there is such a thing as over doing it, and kids end up suffering after awhile.

As you all know, I have four kids. My youngest is in gymnastics and Jiu Jitzu. My son's entire world is hockey. The second oldest takes guitar and Jiu Jitzu and my oldest also takes guitar and has a part-time job. In addition to these activities, the younger two also take swimming and the older two are in an accelerated program at school which means there is tremendous pressure to produce superior work as well as tons of homework (the picture we used today is not far off from the list my second oldest writes up on a daily basis). Plus, it's difficult as some of their activities overlap, leaving us having to choose who to go see.

It's gotten to the point where all my kids want to do with their spare time, when they have it, is relax at home and not having to rush around here, there and everywhere. And I don't blame them.

Essentially, once things get crazy to this point parents (usually mom) needs to step in a slow things down before burnout happens. Their father enrolls them in things if they express the slightest interest and so does their bonus dad. What needs to start happening is there needs to be a scale-back of activities so the kids can focus on, and excel at, one thing they truly love. If they want to try something else down the road, great. But kids just cannot be #1 at everything.

Here are some signs of burnout, and when to step in:
~ Sleep problems
~ Exhaustion
~ Crankiness
~ Unsure of what to do when they have free time because everything is planned out for them usually.
~ Reduced appetite.
~ Clinginess (my son is the clingy one).
~ Realizing you don't see them as often.
~ Less 'family time'.
~ No family meals as everyone is on the go with different schedules.
~ Increased meltdowns.

That's only a few. Each child is different in terms of what he or she can handle with a busy schedule, and how they cope with it. All we can do is be there for them and help them pick and choose the main activity they are most interested in and let the rest go, even if it's temporary.

Encourage children to be all he or she can be, but not at the expense of their mental, physical and emotional health.

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