It’s the beginning of the school year which means we are also pressing the restart button on all of the after-school and extracurricular activities. Buckle your seatbelt and get ready to be your children’s personal Uber driver!
If you have a chance to catch your breath did you ever wonder if it’s all just too much? At the age of three, kids can start taking dance and gymnastic classes and even start learning the fundamentals of soccer, just to name a few.
Let that sink in for a minute. What were you doing at age three? I obviously can’t remember but I can assure you that my mom wasn’t taxiing me around town from one activity to the next. My weekly schedule was definitely not packed full of extracurricular activities.
If you have more than one child, that Uber schedule can become overwhelming and downright confusing.
So why do we allow our kids to sign up for so many extra-curricular activities? In the end, we’re signing off on them because we’re footing the bill.
If you talk to parents these days, many will agree that their kids do too many activities. I’ll admit I sometimes think I’m creeping into that category, but then I try to refocus by saying no to some things.
My kids have two extracurricular activities that run concurrent with the school year and a third that is seasonal (soccer). Add in CCD classes on Sunday, and our plate is full! Last year, my youngest asked to do gymnastics on top of everything else. When I told her she would need to pick and choose because I wasn’t adding another activity into our schedule, she decided not to do it. Thank goodness!
Does that make me a horrible mom? I really don’t think so! I just don’t think that every minute of a child’s day needs to be scheduled.
I’m a firm believer that kids need time to be kids amidst all of the homework and activities. There’s nothing wrong with sitting down to draw a picture or play with some dolls and trucks every once and a while. Dare I even suggest for them to get bored and have to be creative to entertain themselves without being glued to a screen? I know, I’m crazy!
As parents we may think we are helping our kids by providing so many activities for them, but in the end we may be doing them a disservice. Maybe it’s the need to compete with “The Jones’” or perhaps it’s just that we want more for our kids than we had. Whatever the case, it could be time to just slow down and let kids enjoy being kids and parents enjoy being parents without feeling rushed from one activity to the next.
Do you ever feel your children are over-scheduled and running you ragged? What do you to stop the madness? Share your thoughts and comments below.
Written by: Kristina Cappetta
Edited & Designed by: Christina Denham
My name is John Haber. I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the founder of Nogginsland. I became a COTA in 2003, and then went back to school much later, receiving my Master’s Degree in OT from Mercy College in New York in 2016.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of populations in different settings, from school districts, to developmental disability centers, to children’s hospitals.