Children today are faced with a lot of challenges that simply did not exist when you and I were kids. Kids today have electronic devices practically attached to them at the hip and schedules that almost mandate the use of these devices just to keep everything organized. Kids have everything from family to sports to school to friends that they must keep in balance. It is not surprising that sometimes all of these obligations become too much for even the most mature of children. An overly busy schedule may not be something that your child is able to balance.
There are many reasons why a child can become overwhelmed with their schedules. Many children have a variety of interests and think that it would be fun to be involved in a lot of different activities for both social and intellectual purposes. Some children become overscheduled because well-intentioned parents encourage their involvement in an attempt to enrich their children’s life and diversify their experiences or perhaps as a method of trying to make their children better candidates for college by encouraging them to boost their extra curricular activity level. Whatever the reasons your child may have for becoming overwhelmed with their schedule, it is important as a parent to be aware of the signs that your child might exhibit if they are overwhelmed and to take action to remedy this potentially serious problem.
Children who do not have the maturity or time to balance everything that they have on their plate will most likely exhibit some symptoms of being stressed. Such signs of a child who is unable to balance her schedule includes feelings of fatigue, head aches, stomach aches, and even signs of depression. Your child may begin to be easily irritated or sad. Sometimes children blame their stress on individual inabilities to deal with their own schedules. Many times children expect that they should be able to handle more than it actually possible.
As a parent it is important to be aware of these signs and to first and foremost avoid making the mistake of blaming your child for not trying hard enough or for being lazy if they complain that they have too much to do. Listen to your child if they are brave enough to ask you to help them and try to leave judgment out of the situation. Sometimes children simply need help to determine how much of a time commitment various activities really demand. This process of mapping out how the time in a day is spent is also enlightening for the parent. If it is obvious that activities are taking so much time that there is none left for family or school work, you may need to make some adjustments. Perhaps there are activities that your child is involved in that they do not even enjoy, but feel pressured to continue on with. Talk to your child and choose activities that throw off their ability to balance a schedule that can be eliminated.
Remember that children are not little adults. Children need free time to be creative, to think about how they feel, and to explore the world around them first hand. Do not underestimate the value of having time set aside for nothing specific. If you have the fear that your child might not be responsible with this free time, set some ground rules. Establish limits regarding time spent on the computer, playing video games, or watching TV. Remember that your child should not have a schedule that rivals your own. If you find that your child’s schedule has become too much for you as a parent to handle, this is also a good reason to make some adjustments.