Between soccer practice, music lessons and, oh yes, homework, many kids are totally overscheduled. And parents spend a huge amount of time shuttling kids from one activity to the next – with little or no allowance for down time.
However, down time is also essential for healthy child development. Kids need playtime, as well as time to daydream. Establishing and maintaining healthy life balance in kids’ lives benefits kids in the form of reduced anxiety and less risk of burning out. But establishing proper life balance also provides benefits for the entire family in the form of closer relationships. The following three tips can help both parents and children maintain a healthy life balance.
Limit Extracurricular Activities
A child who is active on the football team, and debate, and in the chorus and volunteers at the local food shelter while maintaining a straight-A average may enjoy all those activities and even excel in all of them – for awhile. But long-term, this sort of schedule is a classic recipe for burnout. A better strategy is to limit extracurricular activities to a manageable number focusing on activities the child enjoys the most.
Enlist Tutors if Needed
Many students struggle with homework, either because they have so much, or because they’re having difficulty with a particular subject. In the former case, emphasizing time management is in order. (If assigned homework is truly excessive, contacting the school should also be considered.) In the latter case; however, parents can and should enlist the services of a tutor or special after-school homework help. How to tell the difference? Students who procrastinate on all their homework are often experiencing time management problems. On the other hand, students who “hate” a particular class may actually be having difficulty with that subject.
Lead by Example
For many people, working 9 to 5 is simply not an option. Executives and hourly wage earners alike frequently work long hours, or odd shifts. However, parents should do whatever they can to spend as much time as possible with their families, along with working and maintaining a social life. If kids see parents working reasonable hours and interacting with friends, they’ll learn that those aspects of life are important and conduct themselves accordingly.