Children are resilient and adaptable. They have a myriad of interests and they’re generally not great at setting limits for themselves, and it’s tempting to allow them to pursue all of their interests. However, this can lead to overscheduling. The result is that your child can easily become stressed out, cranky, and exhausted. It’s not healthy nor is it good for development. Let’s take a look at some signs that your child is overscheduled and look into how you can help them create a reasonable schedule.
1. Your Child is Moody or Grumpy
Think about how you react emotionally when you’re tired and stressed – chances are you’re more reactive. Your moods swing and you become angry or frustrated by the smallest things. Your child behaves the same way when too much is going on at one time. They may fight more with their siblings and there may be more outbursts and emotional meltdowns.
2. Their Grades Are Slipping
You may start to notice missed assignments and test scores that are lower than what your child normally brings home. Children who are being pulled in too many directions often forget about assignments or they’re simply too tired to do them. They’re not able to put in the time to study for tests or quizzes.
3. They’re No Longer Excited About Their Favorite Activities
Children experience burnout just like adults. They need time to do nothing, play, read what they want to read, or watch television. They need downtime to rest their minds. If your child no longer seems excited about the activities they used to be interested in, it may be time to cut back.
Related: How Much Is Too Much? Overscheduling Kids
Let’s face it, you’re probably exhausted too! If your child is overscheduled then it likely means that you’re the one driving them to all of these activities and doing your part in making sure they’re fed, clothed, and prepared. So how do you help to develop a healthy schedule and find more balance in both your lives?
Ask your child to sit down with you and talk about what is most important to them and why. School should be at the top of their list. After that, identify together the activities that are most important to them. You can then eliminate items at the bottom of the list.
Make sure that your child has time off and that during their time off they’re free to do nothing. This is important. Children need time, like adults do, to play and simply hang out by themselves and relax.
Establish rules for the school year. These rules can put limits on the number of activities your child does. It should also include guidelines about acceptable grades and what time your child should be home each day.
When you set rules and help your child learn the value of prioritizing, they’ll carry these skills into adulthood. Children have enough to worry about without being overscheduled and stressed. Help them learn to experience life to it’s fullest by balancing activities involving mind, body, and spirit. This will prepare them to become well-rounded adults, one of the ultimate goals of parenting.