With so many extracurricular activities available, it can be too easy to get your child involved in a surplus of responsibilities. While you may be thinking of all the benefits that can come from being in dance, soccer, girl scouts, and orchestra, it’s important to consider the other parts of your child’s life. With family and school to attend to, having too much on their plate can be harmful to our children.
Overscheduling Can Lead to Burnout
We’ve probably all experienced burnout at one point or another. When your child is feeling burnout, they are more likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed than their less-busy peers. Some of the signs of burnout in your child can be unusual moodiness or crankiness, headaches, anger, or rebellion.
If you notice signs of burnout in your child, sit down and talk to them. Discuss how you can build in more downtime in their lives, including possibly cutting down on the extracurricular activities they’re taking part in.
Overscheduling Can Lead to Social Issues
While you may be quick to brush this off, it’s important to consider. Your child may be spending time with kids their age on a regular basis through their commitments, but how much of that time is spent developing close relationships? Probably not near as much as you’d think. Having too much on their plate can cause your child to lose contact with some of their friends or even become antisocial and not want to spend time hanging out with people, which can hurt their development of people skills.
Overscheduling Can Lead to Poor Diet
Think about it – how often do you have to grab dinner on the go because your child has a practice or recital to get to? On the go dinners tend to be much less nutritious than those enjoyed as a family around the dinner table. While quick dinners are fine in moderation, being overscheduled can lead your child to eat fast food more often than they’re eating at home, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies, obesity, and a poorer diet overall.
What to Do About Overscheduling?
If you’re noticing that your child is experiencing one or more of the negative effects of being overscheduled, you may be wondering how you can help them. The easiest way to help with overscheduling is to take some engagements off their calendar. Sit down and talk about the extracurriculars your child is involved in to find out which ones they are truly passionate about. If there are one or two that they have less love for, cut it out. You’ll be amazed how much this can help!
On top of that, though, make sure your child has time for free play and time to work on their creative side. Children who are overscheduled tend to be less creative and imaginative than other kids their age because they don’t get the time to develop these skills. In other words, make sure your kid has time to be a kid.
Giving your child activities to do that they enjoy is important for them developing passions. However, no extracurricular is worth losing creativity, health, and social skills for. If you’re worried your child has too much on their plate, make sure that family time is a priority and make sure they have time to relax and do whatever they want to do at their own speed. The ballet and football can wait.