It is important to engage children in a variety of activities to stimulate their mind and body. It is also important however to as much as possible avoid over-scheduling your children if possible.
Many well meaning parents set out to interest their children in a few extra curricular activities aside from school and ordinary family fun stuff.
It’s natural to work hard to be the best parent that you can be. However, many parents so caught up in the chaos of ordinary busy life that they assume that scheduling their children for as many activities as possible is actually the best way to rear kids.
Realistically however, over-scheduling your children has the potential to impact your family in a negative way, preventing your child from enjoying quiet solitude and some occasional time to simply reflect on life and enjoy an ordinary, ‘lazy’ day.
Parents nowadays are excited to schedule their children for as many activities as possible, buy into the latest developmental tapes and do everything possible to stimulate early intellectual development and healthy habits.
Not surprisingly, this pattern of over-scheduling can backfire, and leave kids exhausted, confused, discouraged and un-motivated.
Remember in times of old scheduling activities was virtually unheard of. Parents traditionally have gone with the flow, encouraging their children to engage in active play as they see fit.
So how do you encourage your children to get involved without over-burdening them?
Here are some tips from experienced parents:
Schedule One Activity Per Season – if you are interested in getting your children involved in sports for example, schedule something for the spring and something for the fall. Don’t worry about having a plan for every season, or every weekend day. This one activity will be enough to stimulate your child’s development and encourage a healthy lifestyle without over-burdening them.
Allow Your Children a Choice – you want to try as best as possible to select activities your children will enjoy. To do this you should consider one or two different activities and consult with your child. If you register them for soccer but they hate soccer, you will probably only end up frustrated, and your child will not benefit from the experience.
Allow Quiet Time – allow some portion of the day/week/month where your children don’t have to do anything. Introspection and time for simply exploring are essential components of a child’s development.
We are all well meaning parents in the long run. Just remember that a good parent isn’t defined by how many activities they involve their children in each and every day.
A good parent is one that allows their children the opportunity to explore many different things without forcing many different things on their kids.