Chances are, at some point when your child was young you looked at parents of older children and thought to yourself “I will never be like them”. Whether it was the way they parented or choices they made, most of us have thought it at some point. One common reason we may have internally criticized that parent is because of the rigorous schedule they created for their children.
Basketball on Mondays, dance on Tuesday, karate on Wednesday and on and on. When do their kids get to be kids?
Fast forward to now and you may find yourself wondering whether you turned into that parent after all. Let’s face it, kids are busy these days. Their social calendars sometimes overshadow ours. Let’s take a look at some signs that your child is over-scheduled and may need a break.
Sign #1: They complain about practice, rehearsal, or class
Yes, all kids complain. And even the happiest sports player, dancer or artist will complain about practicing from time to time. However, if you find that your child complains at the mention of attending practice or class, it might be a sign of burnout. While it might seem like typical childhood whining, it might be a sign that it’s become overwhelming for them.
Sign #2: They don’t seem to enjoy it
One telltale sign that kids have too much on their plate is when they stop enjoying things they used to enjoy. It is possible that they have simply lost interest in that activity, but it could be a sign of more going on. When you notice less enjoyment it is a good time to have a conversation about what is really going on.
Sign #3: They are craving unscheduled time
Another sign that your kids might be overscheduled is a constant request for unscheduled time. They might make statements like “we always have something” or “we are never home.” Kids need a certain amount of free time each week in order to grow and thrive. Children who have very limited free playtime have been shown to be less successful.
Sign #4: The schedule is unsustainable
If you feel like your family schedule is teetering on the brink of disaster this is a sign that your entire family might be overscheduled. A life lived one missed carpool away from calamity it one that might need some refocusing.
When you start to feel like your family schedule is unsustainable, this is probably a clear sign of being overburdened.
These are just a few signs that your kids are over-scheduled. If you notice some or even all of these signs it is a good time to do some assessing. It doesn’t mean you need to pull them out of all of their activities and sports. Instead, it might be a good time to re-prioritize what is most important and eliminate things that aren’t.
What can we do if we are overscheduled?
This is a great question and one every family should ask periodically. Make a list of each family member’s responsibilities and take a good hard look.
Chances are, there are things that can be removed. Taking the time to think about what should stay and what should go will make your entire family happier and more productive.