Friday, June 7, 2013

Overscheduling - Part 1

Step away from the activity calendar.  Yeah you.  My fellow parents who frantically tell me how busy they are with their children's schedules.  You who don't have a moment to yourself.

You who frantically respond, "Busy, busy." every time I run into you at Cub Foods or Target or wherever you manage to squeeze in some necessary shopping between activities.

Yeah you.  Who loves their kid beyond measure and is determined to do everything you can for them, no matter your personal sacrifice.


Really.  Just stop moving for a moment and take a deep breath.  Take another.  Let me give you a dose of honesty here.  This is not judgement.  This is just an alternate perspective of how family life can run.  Just hear me out. 

If you are happy, truly happy with your schedule, great!  I'm immensely thrilled for you.  You have decided how to balance your time and energy and it works for you.  I'm not out to change you.  There are lots of ways to successfully raise your children and I am in no way assuming mine is the only right way.

But I've talked with enough parents to know that isn't always the case.  Starting even before preschool, overachieving parents are so eager to help their children excel in every possible way that schedules are planned with military precision. 

It isn't necessary.  Honest.

I get the allure.  Every one of the activities your child (and my children, too) are involved in are important.  Each one gives them an opportunity to learn and grow.   They are all enriching and your child loves them and they will help to make your children productive members of society that reach their full potential.

But too much is just too much.  Everything can't be that important.

You can let go of some formal activities and let go of the guilt.  (If you want to hang onto the activities and guilt - again its your prerogative). 

How do you know your family is over scheduled in the first place?  When your kids eat most of their suppers in the car.  When your children's free time is spent taking turns watching their siblings' activities.  When all the joy is sucked out of family time.  When you know its overwhelming, but don't know how to make it stop.

Next post I'll talk about why slacking off in the enrichment activities is great for your kid.

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