Is Your Child Overbooked With Too Many Activities?

Sports of all kinds, dance, gymnastics and music lessons: All of these can be a great learning experience for some kids, but how much is too much? Adding extra lessons and sports on top of school and school sports can really be draining on the child and family.

Bearing Benefits

There has been a lot of interest and studying around children’s extracurricular activities. Do these make the kids smarter and more accomplished and develop skills at a young age? Some research shows that’s not necessarily the case. People can develop skills at a later age and be just as talented and successful as their counterparts who start at a younger age.

Parents feel guilty and pressured to enroll their children into activities at such a young age simply because their children’s peers are. This unfortunately seems to be the societal norm. Also, parents wanting to give their children the opportunities they never had is a common cause of the overbooked child as well.

Rushing kids all around from practice to more practice, school work and music or drama lessons can really be exhausting for some kids. It doesn’t give them a chance to just be a kid.

On the other hand, it does give those kids who may have attention deficit disorder or a similar condition the chance to really excel and focus on one activity.

I see both sides of the spectrum and will have to make these types of decisions in the near future with my children. I definitely think there is a happy medium and a fine line, however. Finding the balance that works for your child and family is the key here.

Busy at What Price?

In addition to the other problems, these extracurricular activities can really be expensive and take a toll on a family’s financial status.

And what if just one child is the superstar of the family? The family spends lots of money on that child’s activities and doesn’t leave much behind for the others. Also, what about all of the time devoted to driving and watching all of these events, again just focusing on one child? How does this make the other children feel in the family?

This reminds me of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” “Dance Moms” and the other reality shows that depict the lives of these families that are so focused and obsessed with making their children into something at such a young age.

I have seen this happen before and it can really do some damage to the “non-superstar” kids. Sometimes parents are so focused on the one child and developing his or her skills that the other children are left behind. This can cause the other kids to act out and rebel.

In the end, whether or not to fill your child’s schedule with regimented activities is an individual family decision. I try to be supportive of families and not judge others when considering these types of situations. Who knows why parents choose to do the things they do for their children, good, bad or indifferent?

What do you think? Are we as a society too obsessed with raising the perfect kids?

Photo credit: MRHSfan

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