Intentional parents help their children learn skills, gain confidence, grow in character, find interests, and experience new opportunities. When they are young, we desire to give them every opportunity to discover what they love and where they will succeed.
Often, this results in busy family schedules. We are presented the opportunity for busyness by living in communities that offer countless options. We feel compelled by the fear that our kids will fall behind. And we are guilted into the life by relatives, friends, or neighbors.
Even worse, there seems to be a little voice inside each of us calling us to impress others by the success of our children. As the philosopher Ernest Becker might say, “We exalt our children into the position of our own ‘immortality symbol’.”
Somewhere along the way, childhood activities became less about the goals outlined above and more about trying to keep up with everyone else. They became less about our kids and more about us—as if busy, successful kids is a badge of honor we could wear on our sleeves to parties and social outings.
41% of children, age 9-13, said they feel stressed either most of the time or always because they have too much to do. And more than three-quarters of kids surveyed said they wished they had more free time.
Now, don’t misread me. There is great value in extracurricular activities. Kids learn teamwork, discipline, and social skills. Some studies correlate physical play with improved intelligence. Each of us would be wise to count the benefit of involving our children in a variety of extracurricular activities.
That being said, we would also be wise to consider the costs associated with overscheduling children.
More and more families are eating dinner on the fly, often grabbing fast food on their way to soccer practice or music lessons. Unhealthy eating habits aside, this robs many kids of the important, life-influencing opportunity of simply eating together and discussing the day.
Overscheduled kids miss out on opportunity for extended free play. Free play allows kids to burn off energy and learn social skills in an unstructured environment. It provides opportunity for kids to exercise their imagination, create games, and refine rules. It forces children to learn awareness, police themselves, and develop empathy.
Overscheduled children lose the space to simply be with themselves and learn the art of being alone. In our noisy, busy world, the importance of developing the life skill of solitude, meditation, and quietly being with oneself can not be overstated.
Children need an opportunity to explore their world and themselves. They should be provided the space to discover their own passions and talents. Overscheduling kids from one activity to another often stunts their development in this area.
It would be wise for us to rethink the heavy scheduling of our children.
What strategies might we implement to slow down and create margin in our family’s schedule? Consider these 9 ideas.
Slowing Down Your Family’s Schedule
1. Discern where the motivation is coming from: you or your child.
Take a step back and honestly evaluate the activities, teams, organizations, and clubs your child is enrolled in. Is the underlying motivation truly the welfare of your child? Or are there personal motivations shaping your decisions: succumbing to pressure, trying to impress other parents, or trying to make up for missed opportunities in your own childhood?
2. Determine an ideal baseline number of activities.
Without consulting your calendar, ask yourself this question: “Ideally, how many hours each week should my child be involved in structured, organized activities outside of school?” This will likely vary by age, personality, need, and even season. Once a baseline has been determined, compare this with your current calendar. Are the numbers close? Or do adjustments need to be made?
3. Elevate the importance of family dinnertime.
According to the American Dietetic Association, eating together as a family during adolescence is associated with lasting positive dietary choices in the future. Eating together as a family promotes relationship, understanding, and love. It provides opportunity for kids to digest not only their food, but also the events of the day. Elevate its importance. Guard it. Most likely, you will not be able to eat together every night of the week. But using it as a reference point in your decision-making will provide a valuable filter in saying yes or no to future opportunities.
4. Schedule time for yourself to be with them.
The most important influence in their life is you. You love them the most and know them the best. Too often, we take this for granted and just assume we will find quality time with them as we go our separate ways. But quality time does not occur without the presence of quantity time.
5. Leave space between events.
A spaced-out calendar is more enjoyable than one crammed too tight. In your weekly calendar, create space. Sometimes, this may mean waking early or eating early to relieve the anxiety of rushing out the door. Other times (vacations for example), this may display itself by scheduling one less activity each day—or adding “walk to the bakery” instead.
6. Develop a family, weekly routine.
Help your kids navigate their schedules by establishing a weekly schedule. Some scheduled events are difficult to move: school, sports practices, religious activities. Others are more flexible: weekly chores, bathing schedules, play dates. Intentionally establish a family routine that children can learn to rely on each week.
7. Reduce your personal commitments.
Embrace the seasons of life. There are times in our lives when we are more available than others. Raising young children is an important responsibility and will require time. Provide yourself with the necessary space to do it well by removing less-important commitments from your personal schedule. You’ll be glad you did. You can never get the time back once it’s gone.
8. Own less stuff.
It is difficult to recognize how much time and energy our possessions take from us. They require our attention to be cleaned, organized, managed, maintained, repaired, and removed—not to mention all the time we spend on the front end just to make the money to buy the item in the first place. Owning less means less burden, less stress, less anxiety, and less time spent caring for it.
9. Leave room to add.
If our schedules are so full with no room for margin, there is little opportunity to add something new or something better (whether that be joining a gym, getting to know the neighbors, or handling a family crisis). A too-full calendar leaves no room for addition. As you consider the coming months, take the bold step of actually under-scheduling your family calendar. This will provide margin when something better comes along.
Wise parents take their role seriously. They seek to develop talents, skills, and self-sufficiency in their children. However, they realize this does not occur best within the confines of a cluttered schedule.
Busy is not the same as productive. (tweet that)
Drea Moore says
Hi Joshua. Found this 5 year old post as I was doing some digital decluttering. This is exactly in tune with the moment we are having as a society. Right now it’s March 2021, one year into this awful pandemic. Turns out the silver lining has been the fact that we canceled all activities. Yes it has been sad, and isolating. My 4 year old didn’t get preschool, as it was shut down. My 9 year old daughter misses Karate, and her 12 year old sister can’t wait to get back to Volleyball. However, despite all the hardship and isolation from loved ones, (and we have been the lucky ones all things considered) through it all, this pandemic has taught me how great it has been to not be “overscheduled” and for the kids to be able to just be bored and figure it out, like I had to when I was a kid. I teach my children that there is always a greater purpose, that everything happens for a reason even if we don’t know what it is. However this past year has made that a difficult message to teach. One thing I can say though, is that the pandemic did force the whole world to slow down. If that’s one positive I can find in all this, I’ll take it.
Great article. In particular, I think it’s so true that we have to be honest about where the motivation comes from – us or our children. But even if the motivation is coming from the child it still needs to be assessed. Older children especially may be motivated by what they perceive is the ‘cool’ activity to be involved in or may say they want to do something because they believe it makes their parents happy.
Lisa of Hopewell says
My kids are in their 20s. My advice to young parents is: STOP. Your kid brings home a sign-up sheet. Circle the deadline and wait. Soccer? Play it for a few nights in the yard. Ask what they really, really like about it. Chances are “everyone is playing,” or “the cool uniform shirt” or “I want a trophy” will be the answers. One Mom I knew was stunned, when job loss forced them to cancel ALL kid activities, to learn her supposedly soccer-mad daughter was in it for the cool little snack–her mom never buys little bags of goldfish crackers (or whatever)–just family size. All that time, all the money because she was “saving” money by buying family sized snacks! Now, if you kid goes straight to youtube for soccer coaching videos then runs outside to try it, is never ever separated from his soccer ball, wants only soccer stuff for gifts and bugs everyone in his world to play soccer, watch soccer, go to soccer matches, clinics, etc and plays only soccer video games, it might simplify your life to let him play. But all parents should honestly read the NCAA stats [ncaa.org] on getting a college sports scholarship and making it as a pro. Sobering. As Dave Ramsey says if you’re putting more into sports leagues than the college fund you’ve got it wrong. Soccer is just an example. Before signing up make sure you look at the schedule–are their make-up practices if the coach can’t be there? Are games rescheduled due to weather? That can throw off everything in your life just so a 4 year old can wear a cool jersey and get a plastic trophy. Is your kid shy and dreamy? What about time to go to the library or take a hike together or just be able to say “Go Play” and everyone has time to do their own thing. Consider it all very carefully.
Great piece! As children mature, it’s useful to explain to them how as a family we make choices to reflect our values. Already we tell my 4 year old that watching a movie on the ipad is a special “sick or plane” activity, and he already gets a 30 minute TV show most days, so the rest of his time is to be with humans “because we value being with others.” But beyond this, we as adults must model this – do we give ourselves breathing room in our schedules? Do we personally live our values – or even talk about them? Depending on where you live in the USA, the value of family time may be tough to adhere to.
This is one of the many reasons we homeschool our children. We want our days to be very intentional and everything our children learn to be purposeful, useful and necessary. But even as homeschoolers the opportunity to overbook is rampant. In fact we have a plethora of activities and outings to choose from, even more so, and we must pick and choose or we would never be at home! So, you can’t escape the options, you just have to evaluate each option. Is this a good opportunity? Or will this take away from what we are building as a family and as an individual. One thing I really do love about homeschooling though is that it gives us an enormous amount of flexibility. We have dinner together almost every single evening. We don’t have to miss out on that because we simply do not plan other things at that time. We know it’s not like that for everyone and we feel truly blessed to be able to do this and many other things too :-)
We had to work through this area this fall, when four out of my five children were all signed up for different teams/sports/activities. I realized that the schedule was overloaded before we began, and I approached my older boys to request that they take a break from sports and give our family some breathing room (see the link above). It made a world of difference. We are still quite busy, but each child only has 1-2 days of outside activities each, which is manageable since they often overlap with each other, and we are able to enjoy dinner together at home every night.
Catherine Favole-Gruber says
Great post, as usual! :) And I also love (most of) the comments! It’s so refreshing to see that so many like-minded people exist – I have been feeling alone in a sea of suburban-busyness-badge wearers. We homeschool our three kids, and each kid takes just one “extra-curricular” activity and participate in a once a week co-op. That’s it. They have time to be bored, which means time for self discovery, lengthy conversations with their dad and me, and time to nurture friendships with a few close friends. And we cherish our family dinners! Sometimes our 17yo misses one, more often we have to set extra places; and we love our time around the table so much, we’ve added having dessert together right afterward!
And minimalsim fits right in with and has enhanced our lifestyle. We live on my husband’s rather lean income, my even leaner part-time freelance earnings, and need to count every penny – twice! But we’ve pared down to what brings us true joy, and are re-learning that our greatest treasures cannot be bought. And we’re doing our best to instill these values in our kids. We’re by no means perfect parents, but we’re doing our very best to preserve and enjoy our kids’ childhoods. :)
I am finding these discussions fascinating and agree with a lot. However, my “busyness” is largely controlled by others. I am a veterinarian. I am expected to work from 8 to 6 weekdays and 8 to 12 on Saturdays. I am hardly ever able to walk out the door at 6 or 12 because usually there is a late appointment or walk-in patient that must be seen. I have often wondered how I can cut back when employers and consumers keep demanding more. It is interesting to me that the US is the only major industrialized nation where the work week has actually increased. It seems simple to say “go find another job”, yet reality is that finding other suitable employment is not always that easy. I would be interested to hear others thoughts.
Cate Scolnik says
Great post. I think it’s also really important to be tuned into your child, or children. I have one that’s a real live wire and needs lots of social contact and lots of physical activity. She’s interested in everything, and wants to try it all. My focus with her is to encourage her to be involved, but also have quiet time.
My other daughter is very reserved, and would not cope with the level of activity that makes my eldest thrive.
So it’s very much about finding the balance for each individual child, as well as the family as a whole.
Thanks for getting me thinking!
Meryl @ Simple Family Home says
Really interesting and thought provoking stuff, thank you. At five and one our kids don’t have any extra-curricular activities: we feel like school takes enough energy out of our five year old. While there might be evidence that physical activity improves IQ, you don’t have to go to a scheduled soccer game to do that! Running around in the garden or walking over to the local playground are presumably just as good :)
Edit: baseball and soccer games…
As a young mom with 3 kids I ran around by myself, I was exhausted all summer with baseball and softball games. The following year I told the kids, one sport per summer each…thankfully they all picked baseball, but it was still rough running them all around to their games. At least it didn’t last all summer long though. I did it for me as much as for them; I wanted to enjoy at least part of the summer not having to run them all over.
As a high school sophomore, I’d say that I can feel the pressure to do things. My friends who stay up until 2am doing homework because they had sports practice and play rehearsal wear it like a badge of honor. I’m considered one of the more laid back people at my school. This summer alone, I’m running 5 days a week and cross-training 1-2 days a week (for the upcoming cross country season), taking piano lessons (once a week, plus practicing for an hour each day), tutoring twice a week, attending my church’s mass and youth group, and doing summer work for English and AP Drawing. On top of that I want to be able to hang out with my friends, go to a concert, and spend a couple weeks on vacation with my family. It amazes me that my schedule is considered “relaxed” for this summer, and my mother was asking me why I wasn’t doing anything over the summer! I feel like there’s too much pressure to make yourself busy, as if business leads to productivity. Everyone around me seems to have a mindset that if they schedule a lot to do, they’ll get a lot done. I view it differently. I’d rather spend 3 hours doing an assignment for school and doing it thoroughly and at a relaxed pace, then rush through it in 30 minutes only so I can have more time to do some activity I don’t enjoy that much.
Debbie Foster says
You are wise beyond your years! I am a retired high school English teacher who has seen the same activities you have described. Life is far too short to continue with busyness for the sake of others’ approval. I subscribe to Thoreau’s view of a happy and successful life. Having said that, I must admit that I continue to teach part time at a Boys and Girls Club (where I see stressed overscheduled children all the time). I wish you much joy as you continue your life’s journey.
As a child, I remember my happiest and most nostalgic moments were unstructured. The time when my neighbors and I decided to create the “world’s longest hop scotch” and spent all Saturday afternoon drawing on the sidewalk. The time when I would walk to the bakery after school and buy a treat. The time when a few of the kids in my neighborhood gathered together to play games we would make up before dinner. The time when a simple trip to the store turned into a whole day of play with a friend simply because I ran into them and hey, I had the time. These were the moments of my childhood that I remember most fondly. I have to heartily agree that unstructured play is just important than organized activities. Granted, that time is only valuable if it’s not spent doing mindless activities such as watching TV.
I just recently had a conversation with a family member who was encouraging me to get my youngest involved in a sport. She suggested a sport that with practices and games would consume many nights of the week. We are a large family and he is very young, yet I still walked away from the conversation “feeling” as though I was doing a disservice to my son, whom I don’t even know if he would enjoy the activity or not. I think there are so many factors to think about when exploring outside activities, such as ages of the children, family size, interests, and overall family goals.
Katie O'Brien says
Another great post! I love how you’re granting permission for today’s parents to slow down and do less… and in turn teach their children less is okay. My daughter is only 2 and have occasionally felt pressured into enrolling her into the many available extracurricular activities for babies and toddlers. But I’ve been living an intentionally simple life and love our quiet, flexible schedule too much. We have a great routine but also the freedom we needs.
“In our noisy, busy world, the importance of developing the life skill of solitude, meditation, and quietly being with oneself can not be overstated.” — spot on!!
Great post! Planning to print it out and put it on the refridgerator for everyone to read.
One point I’d like to elaborate on, though. It’s not just the activities outside of school that can overfill a student’s calendar. I have a senior in high school planning a career in engineering whose planning to start the next semester with a course schedule and extra-curricular list that includes three choir groups, marching band, concert band, wrestling and volunteering for the school moon buggy competition. And only one of those is remotely related to his future career. That doesn’t even include the two advanced math courses, science, English, etc. that he has to take.
Needless to say, I have to step in and cool his jets a bit. But I just wanted to make the point that school can contribute just as much to frantic schedules as non-school activities – and in similarly distracting, unpurposeful ways – when careful attention isn’t paid.
Such a great post! I have minimized my life over the past decade and I feel so much better! I am happier, more energetic and healthier. You have a wonderful blog, thank you so much for sharing.
Susan Lasky says
Wonderful post. It is so critical to have balance… and downtime. Many adults need to learn this for themselves, not just their children. We live in a world of over-commitment. I like Emily’s conscious decision to build ‘slack in the system.’
I often speak to both my coaching clients and to groups on the power to say ‘no’ so we can say ‘yes’ to what really matters. When our children are constantly scheduled, they lose opportunities to discover what ‘free’ time really means, in the best sense of that term. Whenever we say ‘yes’ to something, we are making a choice to say ‘no’ to something else. Busy doesn’t mean productive, nor does it mean fulfilled.
Another teacher here, who often has to advise parents to offer their kids a little more free time!
Another tip, for me, is to spend time in nature – it seems to automatically slow things down and add that special quality time we can spend as a family.
jen at barnraised says
Very important post, I enjoyed this. It’s good to know that others understand the idea of slowing down and enjoying our children!
Daisy Chain says
Jen@barnraised??? Raised in a barn?? I love it!!!!!!
As a teacher I was always amazed at how exhausted my students were on a Monday morning. The weekends were hardly a time to recharge for them. They were run ragged from one activity to the next. I have tried very hard for this not to be the reality for my own children. http://www.lifewrangling.com
Great post! Our girls are reaching the end of their schooling and have each played an instrument and done some dance and other activities, but throughout those years we have always had dinner together (until very recently when youth group has clashed with dinner) and we have always scheduled 1-2 free afternoons a week, preferably 3, during the week, with weekends mostly free also. This has been a great balance for us over the years. As my girls are getting older, I see how many one-off events arise, eg school rehearsals, other commitments, driving lessons etc (not to mention fun social events with friends), so I’m relieved that we set boundaries early on regarding extra-curricular activities.
The other thing a friend and I often talk about is the need for “slack in the system”. If every moment is programmed, there’s no slack to handle an emergency, nor any space for spontaneity.
We have intentionally built a lot of slack into our family system, and it serves us well. As I type, 2 kids are at a youth evening, one is playing a board game with dad, and the youngest is contentedly cutting a sheet of paper into confetti.
Another thing that’s helped is ‘lessons aren’t forever’. All of our kids have tried things out for a while and moved on. Just because she’s done 5 years of piano doesn’t mean she can’t do bass guitar instead next year! (Or switch from dance to gymnastics, or quit soccer, or change his mind about pursuing lifeguard qualifications, or…).
We travel fulltime – and I can’t count how many times we have had someone say “hey – come look us up when you get to our town!”.
We get there and try to make plans for dinner and it’s impossible.
“Johnny has Little League, Missy has dance practice, then there are piano lessons and study group and then Youth Group at church…”
We made a concious decision to not become “suburban busy” and we’ve been out of that life so long it’s hard to understand where they get the time, money and energy to keep it up.
Katie O'Brien says
I’ve never heard anyone call it ‘suburban busy’ before but you’re right on the money. That describes the area I live in well… It def takes intentional, conscious living not to fall trap!
Gladys (The Pinay Mom) says
It’s really an advantage to learn from others.I have a friend who has two kids and the kids’ sports and school activities alone make them super busy,even on summer.They barely stay home on weekends as they travel a lot for different games.I think having control of your kids’ schedule and personal commitments will make your time more manageable and less stressful too!
This is so good for me to read now, while my kids are young. I see so many people with these crazy schedules and I already know I don’t want that for my family. Thanks for sharing this.
I have watched my brothers two daughters, over the last 10 years, adhere to a relentless, gruelling schedule of extra curricular actives that makes me exhausted thinking about.
They live half a block away from a neighbourhood playground. My brother confessed that his girls have never gone to the park to swing or play with other kids on the block. Instead they do swimming lessons, piano, tennis, “elite” soccer “six nights a week”, classical guitar, and are in countless academic “camps”.
Last summer, they were sent alone to grandmas house for a two week visit and things didn’t go well. You see, grandma is still programmed for living in the 60s, 70s and 80s… you know… kids “played” outside on their own, used their imagination, in the dirt, random games, random friendships with other kids as they explored the town. Instead, these modern granddaughters sat in the house absolutely stupefied with boredom.
These girls are nothing without a coach telling them what to do. They sit and wait for their next command from a hyper vigilant parent, teacher or coach. No imagination, no sense of self. Little automatons programmed to jump when told to jump.
The motivation from the parents? Apparently they do it all so they can brag on social media. “Try and keep up with us! We’re so successful with our super-star straight-A athlete children!”
Lori in Prescott says
That was powerful. Harsh, but powerful.
Great insight. Couldn’t agree more.
Lauren Jade Martin says
YES! I love that. ‘busy is not the same as productive’ it is so so true! Great tips!
– Lauren Jade –
Lauren Jade Lately
Simplify Life, Maximize Happiness
I agree that knowing where the motivation comes from is essential for both parent and child. Family activities have succumbed to a game of keeping up with the Joneses. However, while the outside world can see this obvious change (the new Motts commercial for example). I think many parents rationalize their actions and believe they enroll in activities for the betterment of the child only, but if they look deeper (I include myself in this statement) their actions also involve keeping up.
Mark Tong says
Excellent post Joshua – I’ve never really understood why if you come home from a hard day at work and have extra work to do, it’s seen as you are ‘overworked’ and struggling with ‘work/life’ balance but kids come home form a hard day at school and have homework to do and this is seen as ok. Some well known schools in the UK are now stopping homework
Lori in Prescott says
What a wonderful post, Joshua! This will result in many comments. I think the point that is rarely addressed is the importance of family meals for real conversational bonding. Growing up in the ’50’s, the Sunday afternoon dinner was an event to look forward to. My grandparents were always invited and we often went for a “Sunday drive” taking them to a great restaurant. Much of the talking then took place in the car. I think that when we are overly scheduled and insanely busy, we forget that these moments will pass, never to come again, and these memories are a wonderful reservoir that ground us.
I really love this post. It reminds me of something crucial ie happiness. We spend our life preparing for happiness when it is so close to Us in the first place. Having the freedom to choose is the closest we can get to it. While money will help us choose im life it is not am advantage of you are not happy in the first place. Stress us the indicator of if we are on the right track or not. To have challenges is important. Every human being is created to be creative to inspire and if we don’t let our space and time reality free of clutter and hobbies you can’t be as happy and inspired ad you could have been.
This is so true.I was a Professional Nanny for 20+ years and have seen this first hand.Parents overscheduling their kids from the second they get of the school bus.Homework,snack,back out the door every single day with,Basketball,Baseball, Football,After School Clubs.
Even in summer constant running around,being sent off to camp and then home after 6 weeks to more schedules.I have seen kids looking out the window in their own backyard watching other kids chasing frogs,playing tag,having lemonade stands and they would have complete meltdowns and cry,fall to the floor saying,”I want to stay home and play outside!!” As a Nanny my hands were tied.I gave up a Career I loved because of this.I could not take seeing kids just wanting to be kids and play in the dirt,instead being dragged out the door.Always being pressured by parents to succeed in everything they were forced into.Glad I was raised in the 60’s and 70’s.
Liz Smith says
I loved everything about this post Joshua. As a family of 5, we subscribe to slow evenings, slow weekends and even slow holidays when we are fortunate enough to indulge in them. We rarely schedule and love to go with the flow.
Other than one child’s weekly dance class, we don’t engage in after school activities. Right now the emphasis is on imaginative play and not having gaming devices in our household has helped a lot with this too. The most important aspect to our intentional living approach, is the ongoing conversation I have with my kids around how our choices are aligned with our family values.
Our kids have so much to teach us adults about the value of real play. I’m still learning!
I’m curious where you live. This is not an option where I live- Long Island. It’s just not
That is how we do it, as well. Slow. Time to reflect, time to recharge (especially for introverts!!), time to be with those who love you. Each child has one dance class a week and stringed instruments through the schools. Although I confess that we have allowed screens (with limited access) in our home….after years of not allowing them.
Nice to hear we are not alone. Oh, and we live in a suburb of Philadelphia, so it can be done.
As a child, that was involved in competitive dance, and loved it, and was later also a dance teacher, I have seen a changing trend in extracurricular activities. When I was involved as a child, over 25 years ago (yikes) specialization in my activity (dance) didn’t start til I was around 12. During my early childhood years I danced, but only an hour or two a week. There was still plenty of time for free play, outside play, and time with family. I still had a childhood full of opportunity to spend time in nature, explore, and connect deeply to the place I lived and with the people I lived with and around. But what I see now is early specialization. Children in competitive activities from the age of 5 or 6, demanding much of their free time, and taking away time for free play, family, and friends. Times have changed, for sure, for many reasons, but as you said there is a cost to over scheduling, and that is something as parents we need to pay attention to.
Daisy Chain says
You are absolutely right Kim-
my 9 year old is being offered a 4th gymnastics session each week and every fibre of my being is saying no, but nowadays it seems it is all or nothing with activities. It would mean the loss of valuable family down time on a friday evening. Clubs, parents and schools all need to take responsibility here. Thank you so much for this post Joshua, it has helped me decide to say no.
Ita hard to get off the merry go round, but where is the balance…kids burn out on stuff younger and younger, who cares if a kid is the best, they should be having fun and learning, plus whole generation who think their activities are more important than any other family activity.
I agree with you, but it is not the job of the schools or clubs to keep an eye on how much time our children are spending in their activities; rather, it’s our job as parents to say “no” when we think it is too much. It is difficult to go against the grain, particularly when their friends are also becoming more involved in the activity. But that is OUR problem…not our kids, not the schools’, not the organizations’. We have to be okay saying “no”.
I agree with you, Joshua. There needs to be a balance. BTW—took 4 large bags of “junk” to Goodwill last night. It felt wonderful. The house looks better too. I’m a work in progress—but getting there, for sure! Thank you for all you do. Hugs! :) :) :)
As a child i loved all my extra scheduled activities and I did a lot of them. When I was 12 for example I took dance lessons for 4.5 hours a week (in the evenings), drawing lessons 3 hours on Saturday morning and a youth club on Sunday afternoon (4 hours). Combine that with 3 times a week half an hour of tutoring and school than you have a busy schedule. But the majority of these activities don’t continue during school breaks so those left enough free ‘playing time’. I personally never had the feeling that I missed out on anything. But a while ago my friends where talking about their favorite childhood TV programs and I didn’t even know half of them, let alone watched them regularly. So I assumme the time for my hobby’s took over the time I would have spend in front of the TV…
So good and so true of tv! I didn’t spend half the time as a kid as some kids today do, in front of a tv. My children are the same way. Our rule is one sport or activity at a time, per season. That way the space and time I between can be used for free play, time alone, and just being with family. I don’t like being too busy.
EmmyLou W.A. says
Exactly. If you take away the activities they have to be replaced doing something else. Most likely the TV will be the lesser option!
Mama S says
I’m just curious if you pursued a career in dance or drawing? If not, maybe your time would have been better spent learning a life skill. You could be fluent in a few foreign languages or be able to program a computer language with 7.5 hours of lessons per week. Just a thought.
After morning tea, me and my mother sits for 15 minutes, to have a deep conversation.
I stop everything else and this is really refreshing. !
And i’m a big believer of,
“Being Busy is not the same as Productive”