YOU Magazine - October 2012 - Too Much of a Good Thing? Part 2Tips to Avoid Overscheduling
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Brent Prockish     Brent Prockish
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Too Much of a Good Thing? Part 2
Tips to Avoid Overscheduling


Too Much of a Good Thing? Part 2Tips to Avoid Overscheduling

These days parents aren't the only people who need organizers. Between after school activities and weekend events, kids can be just as busy if not busier than adults. And while sports and extracurricular activities are healthy for children, sometimes it's possible to have too much of a good thing.

WebMD says that overscheduling children is one of the top seven common parenting mistakes that parents make with grade school age children. What's more, according to the Society for Research and Child Development, "Between 70 percent and 83 percent of American children and teens claim to take part in at least one extracurricular pursuit, spending an average of five to nine hours per week in structured activities."

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid overscheduling your children...and to help your children get the most from the activities they participate in.

Start your day off positively. Mornings can be hectic, but they don't have to be. Help your children learn important lessons about organization by having them check their school bags with you each evening to make sure homework and all needed papers are packed. Also, packing lunch at night with your child is a great way to save time in the morning.

Routine is the name of the game. Be sure to establish a morning, after school and evening routine. The Tulsa Health Department has a Back to School Routine online guide that outlines what a daily smooth routine looks like.

Set time to discuss your child's day...every day! Don't get lost in the hustle and bustle of the week. Instead make each and every day feel special for your children. Ask them what their favorite part of their day was, what they enjoyed doing at school, and discuss something that made them feel proud that day. Not only does this keep the lines of communication open, it also shows your children that you are dialed in.

Have expectations, but don't set the bar too high. Help your children prioritize their schoolwork and extracurricular activities...and then follow up with them to make sure important assignments and deadlines aren't missed. Also, be willing to set rules if certain school criteria or assignments are not met.

Say no if you need to. William J. Doherty, author of Take Back Your Kids, suggests that parents should occasionally say no to their children when they want to do a costly and time consuming activity. Doing so allows for "more meaningful family moments together at meals, church services and volunteer activities."

Let's face it: Having an overscheduled to-do list can be stressful for adults and kids alike. By helping your children choose activities wisely and learn to prioritize, you will give them habits that will help them for a lifetime.




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