Are You Overscheduling Your Kids?
Parents often jokingly describe themselves as chauffeurs for their children, and that’s not too far off—between baseball practices, dance lessons, and after-school tutoring sessions, the modern kid has many obligations. If it all feels like a little too much, it just might be.
You likely grew up riding bikes with the neighbors, building forts, and setting up tea parties for your dolls. It’s called unstructured play, and it develops imagination, creativity, dexterity, decision-making skills, and even strength.
Kids today do less of that. Now we’re encouraged to give our children access to technology and enroll them in enrichment activities. The busier they are, the more successful they’ll be—or so the theory goes. There’s no doubt that activities do provide a developmental benefit, but not all kids thrive with a packed schedule.
Spotting Stressed-Out Kids
Children won’t always speak up when they’re stressed, especially if they feel like dropping an activity would disappoint you. Those who are being pushed beyond their comfort limits to the point of anxiety may show the following symptoms:
- Avoiding family and friends
- Lack of appetite
- Disrupted sleep
- Stomach pain
Paying attention to your child’s personality and behavior will help you determine what balance of activities is best for your family.
Less Can Be More
If your busy child seems frazzled instead of flourishing, don’t be afraid to try the “less is more” approach. Remember that not all downtime is unproductive—sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Your child may be missing out on high-quality family time with no agenda, the kind where you make dinner together, work on an art project, or just chat. Creating a strong foundation for your kids doesn’t always mean putting them in every extracurricular program you can find.
Teaming Up for Family Care
A primary care provider (PCP) is a key partner in health for you and your loved ones. Click here to learn more about the role of PCPs and find one who is perfect for your family.