Parents want the best for their children, and that can mean different things to different people. For some it means doing well academically in school, for others it means always being kind and generous. For some, that means their child is still successful and has a long resume full of things they’ve done. Some mothers see a busy calendar full of scheduled sports and activities and feel that their child is fulfilled and that it is important to them. However, is this right for the child?
After-school activities are important for children, for many reasons, but there must come a time when mom wonders if there is ever anything too much? We always hear that there is too much of a good thing, but what is the truth? Surely a child who does a lot of activity will end up being well-balanced and successful, right? The truth is they can, but at what cost and that’s what we need to explore. We need to explore the benefits of activities, the possible downsides of having too many, and what is the right number.
Understanding the benefits of extracurricular activities can help us understand why we see other moms enrolling their children in many activities or why we are drawn to enrolling our children in many activities. According to good schools, the benefits of extracurricular activities cannot be overlooked. They allow children to learn skills outside the classroom and beyond their circle of friends. They learn key skills like teamwork and sportsmanship in a way that interests them.
When it comes to school and education, a long history of extracurricular activities can look good on a resume for colleges, and it can be a huge motivation for a mother who has her child in something every day from the week. It also allows them to explore new hobbies and interests, which can give them a good challenge and a sense of purpose.
Enough is enough
The short answer is that there can be too much extracurricular activity and it can harm a child’s mental health. According to Parenting from the Heart Blogstudies have been done to show that there is a time when it’s too much for a child, and the moment children started signing up for activities is when the rates of depression and anxiety among young people have skyrocketed.
Experts believe that when we enroll kids in too many activities, we rob them of the opportunity to just be kids and do what kids want to do. They lose a sense of self-control over what they want to do, and although children thrive on routines, it can become overwhelming and lead to increased levels of stress, depression and anxiety.
How do you know there are too many?
Now that we know that there are too many extracurricular activities, it is important to know how we can know when it is too much. According to Parents Canada, there are signs our children will show us when they get involved in too much activity, and these are things that parents should be aware of. If a child is sleep deprived or shows signs of constant fatigue, they probably need a break.
If they start complaining about going to certain activities, it may be time to reconsider whether they should be registered. Too much activity can also cause a child to fall behind in school and not want to go out with friends, and these are all signs that a child is stressed.
What is the right amount?
Now kids need extracurricular activities, but what’s the right number? According to parent of today, it is difficult to answer this question because it will depend on each family, but certain factors must be taken into account. Mom wants to watch the cost, and if all the activities prevent her from buying anything else, it may be a sign of a discount. Mom also needs to think about the weather and how her child is dealing with being rushed and pushed out for activities every day.
It’s about thinking more about the quality of life of their children, and maybe that time would be better spent doing an activity at home. Learning and growth can also happen with home activities.
Finally, mom really wants to listen to her child and what he wants to do. If they don’t want to play an instrument, they shouldn’t be pressured into simply “having it on a CV”. One or two activities a child really enjoys per week are better than 5 or 6 that they don’t really care about.
Sources: good schools, Parenting From The Heart Blog, Parents Canada, parent of today
10 activities you can plan with your kids this fall
About the Author