The exhaustion of your kid’s extra curricular activities can take a toll on any parent. You may know the feeling…you open up your google calendar or physical planner and start getting stressed out over all the color coded events for the month.
Nope, it’s not your schedule, it’s your kids.
Sports practices and games, school play rehearsal, cooking classes, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, youth group, music lessons, robotics, tutoring sessions and volunteer work. You name it, your child is on the list. I’m a huge proponent for enrichment. Learning the concept of teamwork, strengthening their social skills and building self-confidence are all amazing, but when is it too much?
Be sure to observe your child’s behavior and emotions:
Do they always feel rushed, stressed or anxious?
Are they more tired?
Have their grades dropped?
Do they put up a fight when it’s time to take them to a certain activity?
As children get older, some may narrow down the list themselves. When my son was younger he decided that he wanted to focus on baseball and not play football and basketball. My 10 year old daughter on the other hand wants to join everything! She already has softball winter training three days a week (did I mention the 40 minute drive each way?), and basketball and play rehearsal twice a week. Now she wants to join Girl Scouts.
Before the stress begins to build inside your head, the first thing you need to do is have a conversation with your child.
Why they want to join that activity. For example, my daughter said she wanted to join a certain after school activity because she just wanted to hang out with her friend. I suggested rather than sign up for this activity which was a greater commitment to our already packed schedule, what if we just scheduled a few play dates with that friend instead. Would they consider giving up something else in order to fit in this new activity? Most likely the answer will be no. This is a great lesson for your child in prioritizing. And if the answer is yes, then maybe your child’s interests are changing and it’s time to rethink their schedule.
Finally, let’s not forget about you.
Yes, we all want the best for our children, but we can’t burn ourselves out as parents hustling multiple children to activities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to turn around because I found myself driving halfway to basketball practice, when I knew I should have been going to softball. Either cut back on the list or ask for help. If you don’t have immediate family around, swap pickup and drop-off days with other parents.
What tips do you have? Feel free to comment below!