How many extra activities does your child do?
Written on the 31 May 2019 by Instructor Giorgio Repice
As parents, we want what's best for our children. The reality is that today's children are pushed to their limits with extra-curricular activities by well-meaning parents. With that said, we have put together some details about how over-committing children is retroactive for their development.
For starters, let's look at why we tend to over-commit our children:
1. We feel we need to fill up our children's schedule so they aren't just sitting home watching television or playing video games.
2. We want to give our children what they want, like when they beg us to take them to soccer to see their friends.
3. We try to keep up with other 'super-parents' who boast and brag about all the activities their children are involved in.
4. We think by jamming them into 3 or more extra activities a week they may find something they like.
Next, let's consider warning signs that your child may be over-committed:
1. Your child looks and acts tired. They are physically exhausted.
2. Your child's grades are dropping. They are intellectually exhausted.
3. Your child has mood swings. They are emotionally exhausted.
4. Your child has anxiety. They are socially exhausted.
5. Your child is not keeping up in their activity. They are over-committed, doing too many activities so cannot focus on getting good at one or two.
These warning signs should be taken very seriously. Let's face it, they are not equipped with the mindset to push through so much adversity.
So, what do you do when you see these warning signs?
Although your intentions are good when you try to put your child in a variety of activities, there are more productive measures you can take for the proper growth, development, and happiness in your child's life:
1. Take control. Put your foot down and limit extra-curricular activities. Don't give in to pressure from your child or other parents.
2. Survey. Pay close attention to the overall value of the activities, including the experience of the facilitators. Is the activity highly-structured with well-trained people? Or is the activity something conducted with little structure and people who have little or no experience?
3. Prioritize. Decide which activities have the highest VALUE when it comes to helping your child develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.
4. Follow-through. Once you decide which activities are best for your child, be sure to commit and stay engaged. There is greater value for your child to learn commitment, dedication, perseverance, goal setting and managing motivation in the up's and down's for one or two activities vs jumping in and out of too many activities.
Dealing with an over-committed child is difficult. The solutions in this article are simple, but not easy. Examining your child's activities with respect to your goals will help you make the right decisions that will help bring more balance and happiness to your child's life.
Author: Instructor Giorgio Repice