Is your child showing signs of stress, irritability, exhaustion and poor performance? If yes, then step back for a moment and consider whether you may have overscheduled your child.
By Arun Sharma
As soon as her son came back from school, Meera said, “Ravi freshen up quickly and have your snacks, we have to leave for the music class in 20 minutes. Also, don’t forget to pack everything that you need for your tennis practice later.”
As Ravi started gulping down the snacks, Meera impatiently looked at her watch. “Hurry up. We need to finish everything and come back in time for you to attend your tuition classes,” she said. While this is Ravi’s usual schedule, on weekends, he also attends yoga sessions early in the morning, and swimming and martial arts classes later on.
Ravi’s busy schedule could even put a bee to shame! It leaves him with no time to spend with friends, pursue a hobby, watch TV, or enjoy some free time admiring the sunset or just counting the stars. His mother Meera too is perpetually busy, as she has taken it upon herself to monitor Ravi’s progress and ensure that he sticks to the timetable.
Nowadays, parents are more willing than ever to go the extra mile to give their children the best education, make them learn more skills, provide them with better facilities and explore new opportunities for them.
But, the problem begins when, in trying to do all this, parents overburden their children by cramming many activities into their children’s schedule. In his article, ‘Too Much on Their Plates: Child Anxiety and Overscheduling,’ published on anxietyfreechild.com (2012), author Rich Presta says, “Overscheduled kids are more prone to irritability, tiredness and an inability to focus. Children with anxiety already struggle with feelings of fear and nervousness, and adding too many activities can make these symptoms much harder to deal with.”
Let’s look at some of the signs of overscheduling, what it does to the child, and how to restore balance in the child’s life.
While some children may relish the various opportunities coming their way, most struggle, or fail, to keep pace with a hectic routine. Here’s how you can figure out if you have overscheduled your child:
As the old adage goes, excess of everything is bad. Making a child do too many things at a time can be a recipe for disaster. Here are some of the dangers of overscheduling your child:
While engaging your child in activities benefits her in many ways, going overboard can be detrimental to her physical and emotional health. If you feel that your child’s schedule is overburdened, here’s what you can do to restore balance.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but, replacing the apple with some downtime every day,a few minutes of extra sleep daily, and a more relaxed schedule can also have the same effect. Now that you know about the hazards of overscheduling your child, introspect well to come up with a satisfying answer to the question, “Why should my child be engaged in any activity?,” to help you plan her schedule.
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