Most times we hear talk about how children have too much free time on their hands. Or that the free time that our children have is spent poorly. Many people focus on trying to find solutions for kids who waste their time on video games or surfing the Internet. It is far less common to hear about problems associated with kids who are trying to do too much. Yet, just as spending time poorly is a real concern, so too is the fact that many kids feel overwhelmed or stressed out over the schedules that they feel that they are expected to maintain.
There are various things that you can do and look for to make sure that your child is not too busy. As all children will not exhibit identical symptoms of being overly busy, it can be challenging to pin point exactly where the problem lies. Through open communication and understanding parenting, you can ensure that your child does not get in over their head.
Steps to follow to make sure your child is not too busy
1.Look for the signs – Children who are too busy often exhibit some classic signs of stress. Such signs include frequent head aches or stomach aches, feelings of fatigue or a lack of energy, and even feelings of depression. Children are often very critical of themselves for being unable to do what they think that they should be able to do in a day.
2.Use your judgment – As a parent you know your child best. If you suspect that your child is too busy, take a good long look at their schedule and form your own opinion. Could you do what your child is expected to do ever day week after week? If you think that you could keep the same pace are you also accounting for the fact that your child may have special needs when it comes to school as well as recreational time to enjoy being a kid? Make sure that you keep your expectations realistic.
3.Ask your child if they feel like they have too much to do – It seems obvious but asking your kids what they think about their schedules is often the most efficient way to get to the root of the problem. Many times your child will know exactly which activity is causing them to be stretched thin and may have already formulated a solution. Sometimes kids just need the validation from parents to feel like they can talk about making changes with their schedules.
4.Never underestimate the value of free time – Although you may have concerns about how your child may spend his free time if you make certain he has some, it is nonetheless valuable for a child to have time on his own to learn and to grow. Free time allows kids with the opportunity to be spontaneous, to have meaningful time with family and to learn more about themselves.
Making sure that your child is not too busy may be a challenging task to undertake. However, as parents we only want what is best for our children and obviously they cannot be at their best when they are overwhelmed with all of the pressures of being a kid combined with an overly demanding schedule. Make sure that your child is not too busy by simply staying close to them and making sure that you let them know that they can come to you if they feel like they are feeling overwhelmed or that they cannot do all that is being expected of them. As a parent you can provide them with encouragement and council as well as important lessons in problem solving.