School is back in session which makes it the perfect time to analyze your over-scheduling. If you’re like most families these days, you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to keep up with where you are supposed to be and when. How do you fit it all in: PTA, soccer practice, football games, karate, swimming, tennis, cross country, lacrosse, and the list goes on.
Hopefully you don’t have quite that many things on your plate, but scheduling even one club or school sport these days can be grueling. So, how do you manage it? Jimmy’s trying to pull you this way, and Sarah’s trying to pull you that way. If you’re like a lot of parents, you do it all. You are the chauffeur, taking your child from one practice to the next, fitting in homework in the car at the drive-thru, and catching up on their day on the way home when it’s already time for bed. You’re letting them do every activity they want to do, because they’re only young once. You’re the parent making their kids childhood the ideal. Or so it seems.
Now… we all know that is an extreme exaggeration of the way most of us over-schedule things, but that is the extreme we want to avoid. My kids are very good about telling me when they think they need some down time, and don’t want to be overscheduled. But, then I see other kids who are in some of the same activities as them and then they have three or four more things on top of that they are juggling. And on top of school! So… while my exaggeration might seem way out there, it reality for some people.
Are you guilty? Do you over-schedule your life? I’m not even talking about your kids here. Is YOUR life overscheduled? Room-mom, PTA President, goes to every club sport meeting and holds a position on their boards, runs the carpool more often than not, and sends treats for all the teachers on a regular basis, homework helper, Mom of the Year. You get it… if this is you, you get it.
Aren’t you exhausted? It’s time to cut back, at least a little bit. That really is the only option to over-scheduling. Reduce, reduce, reduce. Are you ready?
- Evaluate. How many activities can you and your family comfortably handle while not being overburdened? Be honest. Set aside at least two evenings a week during the school year when each child does not have an activity. They need this down time. If everyone can have the same evening off, even better.
- Choices. Should your child really be in 3-4 sports during one season? I know kids who are playing in over-lapping competitive leagues of soccer, basketball, and softball all at the same time. They are juggling. As a parent, how many activities are you juggling? Do you have to be doing all of them? If you let just one thing go, how much time would that free up? How much would it reduce your stress?
- Cut back. It’s hard to change things all at once, so how about little by little? Now is a good time to tell your son or daughter that they need to pick only two sports in the spring instead of three (or one instead of two!). It’s a good time to think about if you can chair the fundraising committee this year, or if you’d be better off co-chairing.
- Reel it in. One of the biggest losses in over-scheduling is family time. Sure, you might all be together at a game, but if you’re like many… everyone is scattered. One of the kids is playing in the game, another is running around with friends, mom is talking to the other moms and dad is keeping score. You’re together, but you’re not together. Find time to be together as a family. Schedule it.
Let’s hear it. How do you rate with over-scheduling? Are you guilty, and if you are… what is your plan? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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