How do you know if your child is getting enough activity or is overscheduled?
Parents these days want their children to experience everything and never miss out on a moment. Does this sound familiar to you? It should! Especially with the plethora of social media platforms out there, how can one not try to “keep up with the Jones’ ” or for that matter, beating the Jones’ in some way.
Overscheduling our children is a byproduct of our own FOMO of trying to live in a created moment rather than an actual moment. Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat force us to create moments whether we decide to share them or not. There’s always a hope that the perfect moment will come out of something going on in our lives that will show everyone that we are the Jones’ and that they need to keep up with us.
Snap out of it! When your child is participating in an activity live in that moment rather than trying to create one! Observe your child smiling, learning, and building their confidence with a new skill. These moments are precious and as everyone says, they don’t last forever. Reflect on your own childhood experiences and the small things in life. Kate Lavell written a great piece on living in the moment and all sport parents should read it, especially if they’ve recently become a parent of a child in sport. The piece is called “A letter to my former self as a new sports parent”.
Children don’t schedule themselves, parents are the driving force behind their child’s schedule, so how much is too much?
Top 5 indicators of an overscheduled child
- Your child is never just doing nothing
- Every moment of your child’s life is pre-scheduled and structured in some way
- You’re always taking them to their next activity, class, or practice
- They don’t even enjoy things that were once fun to them
- Their grades are dropping
- School should always be a priority, if a once straight A or B student is suddenly a constant C student, there’s something going on
- Look at this as objective data that your child doesn’t have enough time to learn
- If your child has to wake up early to finish their homework, they need more evening time
- Your child isn’t him or herself anymore
- There have been links to depression in children and overscheduling
- Overloading children can lead to the child feeling they’re not living up to expectations of coaches, parents and even teammates
- Family meals just don’t happen anymore
- If the family priorities once included meals together and the child is now missing these due to activities and not by choice, it’s time to re-evaluate the schedule
- Count how often your child has to eat outside of home in a given week (in the car or elsewhere)
- You as a parent need downtime from your child’s activities
- If getting to all of these activities is stressing you out as a parent, then it’s time to look at the priorities for the entire family
- Ask your child how they feel about each of their activities and nix the ones that just don’t provide them with any enjoyment or value
WebMD has a quiz you can take to try to find out if your child is too busy. This quiz is a starting point on the education process of overscheduling but not the only tool. Athlete Kinetics is building a platform for athletes, coaches and parents to combat the common over scheduling problem most children are facing today. The software will allow children, athletes, and really anyone to track their activities as well as their daily wellness in order to narrow the list as to the cause and effect of a given activity. This data can then be shared with as many others as that person chooses. The platform can also be used as a feedback mechanism for coaches in order to adjust training and practice regimens based on actual feedback from the athletes directly. Visit our website to find out more!
Other interesting reads:
- Why self-monitoring will make you achieve your goals
- Hydration – It’s not only about Water
- You are what you sleep
- You are what you sleep Part 2 of You are what you sleep