Over-scheduling Your Child's Activities

April 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Ask Dr. Vicki, Child Development

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Dear Dr. Vicki,

I have two children who are interested in a lot of different activities. I want them to do extracurricular activities, but it seems like they are always busy. Is this good for them?

Dr. Vicki’s response:

As you said, pursuing interests and activities outside of school is very healthy for children to become well-rounded. It is also a way for them to explore various interests, abilities and talents. However, over-scheduling has become a problem for many parents and children, alike. Logistically speaking, it can be extremely difficult to arrange transportation, attend various activities at once, and shoulder the financial burden.

Try allowing each child to choose one activity at a time, or even two varying ones that do not conflict with each other’s schedules. Try car-pooling with other parents in similar situations. Be sure to attend activities that each of your children is involved with, and not just the ones you find interesting. You may want to divide their activity choices into physical activity (such as sports or dance), musical interests (such as playing an instrument or singing), youth groups (such as Scouts or religious-affiliations) and other interests (such as drama or photography).

Encourage your child to try different activities in various seasons, and be careful not to commit their involvement for extended periods of time. Interests change; so can activities. And please make sure that your children have plenty of unscheduled time. It is very important for children to learn how to entertain themselves, as well as how to relax and unwind.
© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.

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