Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simple Sunday! Avoiding Overscheduling

I went for a walk with my friend last night who's daughter just went back to school. I asked her when she would be able to walk again and she quickly became very flustered talking about picture day, back to school night, swim team tryouts, and viola practice. The tone in her voice immediately changed and I could sense the stress in her voice.

Although my daughter is not in school yet, I totally get how it can be so stressful to balance family life with school aged kids sometimes. When I was a nanny, I remember seeing countless activities and commitments filling up the calendar in the blink of an eye. When your child is eager to try something new, you want to jump at the chance to give them the opportunity.

This morning on Good Morning America, a psychologist was talking about how stressful back to school can be on parents and how children become stressed as a result.

So, what can we do to avoid these struggles? Here are some ideas..

1. Think before committing to anything. These days so many after school activities are a huge commitment both financially and responsibility. Remember, there will always be other opportunities if you miss this one!

2. Talk to your kids. Find out exactly why they want to sign up for the activity and let them know all the expectations. If you feel like they have to follow through til the end of any activity then let them know that is the expectation.

2. Assess all the logistics. Look at the big picture. Will this activity affect bedtime? Will this affect meals? Will this affect homework time? How many hours of practice are needed? Commute time?

3. Is this really what my child wants? Am I doing this to fulfil a childhood dream of mine?
This is always a tough one to come to terms with but if you can be honest with yourself you will all be happier in the long run.

4. Can my child handle this? I have a friend who has one child who does extremely well when her schedule is packed with commitments. In fact, this child's grades fall when they are not in a busy routine in the evenings. Her other child, however, does not do well with many commitments and needs a lot of down time to complete homework and relax. Knowing your child can help you to consider what's best for them at different stages of their life.

To sum up my feelings on the issue, do your due diligence and follow your intuition. If your child is interested in a certain sport but the commitment is too much, look for an alternative such as a different school or someone who might be interested in doing a few lessons in your home for a few extra bucks (without such a big commitment).

Embrace this wonderful time in your child's life and enjoy watching them grow and learn all the many wonderful things that they enjoy and feel proud of.


  1. Browsing through via PSMM.
    Love your list! So often I rush my kid through the day thinking she 'needs' some activity or another. Often the best times are when we are home relaxing with a book, soft music or a funny movie. Great list!

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