Signs of an overscheduled child:
Does your child seem tired, irritated, or stressed? This may be due to having too many activities on their plate. For young children, overscheduling can have some negative effects on important areas of their lives.
For one, children might feel overwhelmed because they are trying to do too much with too little time. Friends and family time may also be ignored, instead focusing on getting to practice on time. The vast majority of parents who schedule activities for their young children have good intentions—and activities are definitely a great way to learn new things and make friends—however, it’s important to draw the line between engaging children and overwhelming them.
What can you do to ensure your child isn’t overscheduled?
Understanding your child’s limits can go a long way. One obvious option is to reduce the number of activities your child does. Limiting activities to one or two will help create a more equal balance between structured time and unstructured free play, which is important for young children. A second related option is to just allow kids to be kids—which is crucial for their development—so that they can explore different environments and make secure, natural friendships.
Some other options offered by kidshealth.org include:
- Keep a calendar to keep track of an activity’s time commitment
- Limit activities to one or two days a week, and be firm with the time commitment
- Keep in mind the importance of free play and unstructured time