Soccer. Dance. Gymnastics. Theater.
How many activities do your children do on a regular basis? One? Two? Five?
How frequently are you running your kids from activity “A” to activity “B” to activity “C”?
If someone looks up “Mom Taxi” in the dictionary will your face be there?
Think about the answers to those questions. The reason why I bring it up is because I’m hearing of more and more kids taking on a schedule that seems unrealistic and exhausting to me as an adult. I can only imagine what it must feel like as a kid. Who’s making the schedule? The kids or the parents? In many cases it’s both.
As parents I know we all want our kids to be well-rounded and try everything…blah, blah, blah. Many kids also want to do everything. But, does there come a point when it’s all just too much? Should we try to limit our kids’ activities so that they (and us) don’t get burnt out? If you ask me, the answer is yes.
When I was a kid I tried lots of sports although I wasn’t really athletic. I was also a cheerleader for a bit. I was a Girl Scout for even longer. I even played in the band up until high school. It may sound like a lot, but all those things weren’t happening simultaneously.I also had plenty of time to go outside to play and go to my friends’ houses and do all the other things kids do as kids. My mom wasn’t schlepping me all over town as if I were Miss Daisy. Somehow we managed to make it work. Somehow I think I turned out okay without hopping from activity to activity.
When did we feel like we needed to get our kids into every program known to kiddie-kind? When did we suddenly spend more time in our cars than at home trying to squeeze in some quality family time?
My kids are only six and four and there are already so many activities available to them. Guess what? I make them pick and choose. My six year-old does soccer and Girl Scouts. That’s it. We don’t do dance. We don’t do gymnastics. We don’t do ice skating. Why? Because my child does not need to be in everything. My four-year-old chooses not do dance or gymnastics or anything else for that matter. She just wants to play soccer once she turns five! Guess what? I’m okay with that. It doesn’t make her lazy or boring. Both girls have plenty of time to play and just be kids. Does that mean they’re slackers? Certainly no. It means they’re kids.
We all know kids grow up too fast. That’s why I think it’s time to ease up on the over-scheduling and the mega activities. It’s okay to have a “free day”. It’s even okay to have a few. They may even enjoy it. You definitely will.