After-school activities – Less may be better

After-school activities – Less may be better

The beginning of the school year marks the start of extra-curricular activities like soccer, music lessons, dance classes and so on. Involvement in these activities can enrich your children’s lives and help them master difficult skills. They also create a sense of connection to people and a feeling of belonging to organizations that are important to them.

Problems of over-committing

Your children’s schedules may be exhausting to them and you. You may want to register them in activities not because they want to participate, but because other children are participating coupled with the fact that society requires children to perform excellently in both school and extra-curricular activities. There is pressure for children to acquire skills at very fast pace and for their parents to enroll them in an overwhelming number of activities.

Over-committing your children to different activities can be disastrous to their development, causing them to be overwhelmed by the expectations placed upon them. They often don’t have the opportunity to relax, play, be quiet and be unscheduled. In other words, to just be kids.

Learning and building broader skills are very important for a child’s development, however, a balance of work and free time is needed. It is helpful to appreciate the value of having fun.

Play should not be neglected, as children who are allowed to play are most times, more emotionally healthy and creative than those who are not given the time.

Make a choice

Making the right choices for your child can take a lot of pressure off you and it can also help you make transition to the fall schedules less stressful for the whole family.

Each family is unique and as such, need to decide for itself the degree of activities that is right for them. It is not a one formula fits all, for every family and their child. Some families may thrive on a very active schedule, while others may not.

How to maintain a balance

You can consider the following points in helping you develop a balance that fits your family’s style.

  • Know your child’s limit

Always take into consideration your child’s personality when deciding how many activities he should sign up for. Certain children can handle and cope with a very busy schedule while others cannot.

  • Know your family and recognize its needs

These days, family members are so rushed that there is little opportunity to connect with one another. It is important to create opportunities for family togetherness and time for pleasures and relaxation. These times can be scheduling a few times in a week when everyone eats a meal together and shares the events of the day.

  • Know yourself and your limits

If at any time, you are displeased with your children’s busy schedules, consider taking a step back to create a healthy balance for everyone.  Remember that by taking care of yourself in this way, you will be modeling for your children how they can take care of themselves.