Let’s face it — we want our children to be well-rounded and we want to give them every opportunity to explore their desires and open their eyes to new endeavors. After all, you never know — maybe by enrolling in a robotics course, your child will find his or her purpose in life.
Karate. Swimming. Baseball. Boy scouts. Girl scouts. Piano lessons. Dance lessons.
These are just a few of the activities many of our kids participate in. You can throw in many more activities, too, as just about any whim or indulgence has a tutor or coach ready to serve. It can become overwhelming, time-wise and money-wise. Plus, when you try to factor in homework, family times and chores, our children’s schedules can fill up very quickly. Here's how to scale back a bit.
Assess the Current Workload
The first step is to determine how your child is handling the load of current activities. How is their schoolwork holding up? Are they overtired? Are they getting sick often? What is their mood? Once you answer these questions, you can begin to make choices about how to handle this issue.
Think About How This Will Affect You
This is not just about how your child handles activities, but how the activity load affects the family as a whole. Each time there’s a practice or game, recital, or event, someone has to get your child to and from, make arrangements for meals, or babysitting of your other kids, and take time away from other activities.
You will want to look at each of the activities that your children are involved in. What are they gaining from them? Is it something that you’re doing simply because you’ve always done it, or is it something that they truly enjoy?
This is the tough part. This is where you have to be honest with yourself and your child about what activities they can participate in. Give them the option of one or two activities at a time, and help them figure out which activities are the most beneficial.
You need to be completely honest and transparent with your child about why you are asking them to curtail their activities. They need to understand that their schoolwork comes first and everything else is secondary.
If money is an issue, consider your options. If your child gets money for their birthday, or for Christmas from family members, you might want to earmark that money for activities. That can help your bottom line, too.