How many activities should my child take on at one time?
The variety of activities available for children has grown compared to what was available for us parents back when we were kids! The downside to the cornucopia of extra-curriculars is that families find themselves over-scheduled and frazzled. So how can parents find the right balance between boredom and over-commitment with activities? While there is no cookie cutter approach to crafting your child’s schedule, here are a few things to consider…
Limiting activities to 2-3 days during the week will probably allow your child enough participation but still have ample time to complete schoolwork AND maintain sanity.
But shooting for this 2-3 weekdays plan may require some activity pruning…how do you decide what stays and what goes?
Cutting back activities can be difficult. As parents, we don’t want our children missing out on experiences that may tap into their talents and interests. If your child has multiple interests and feels strongly that he wants to pursue most of them, look into the possibility of sliding some activities onto the weekend to avoid weekday schedule strain.
If your child wants to eliminate some activities, listen to his reasons with an open mind. Teaching our children to honor their commitments is a powerful lesson; quitting the soccer team mid-season is probably not that most responsible, conscientious thing to do. But if, once the season wraps up, your child clearly communicates that she does not want to play another season, that this is not her thing, honoring her request may teach her many wonderful lessons as well. Knowing oneself and one’s wishes, then sharing them and being heard by others can be a valuable experience for a child. Some activities are non-negotiable, but this status is usually reserved for safety and life-skills such as reading and learning so swim. Almost everything else is truly extra-curricular.
As parents, we are our children’s greatest teachers and role models. Encouraging our children to be well-rounded people is a worthwhile goal; so it demonstrating what it means to turn down some opportunities because those experiences would not bring as much benefit as participating in them would demand.