In the last decade or so, parents have been getting their children involved in various activities. Very often, a school going kid has to accommodate an after school sport, a cultural activity, and talent shows. This is besides her homework and school projects. And tuition to those who need extra coaching.
The parents do it with good faith. They firmly believe that they are giving their children as many opportunities as possible to explore their potential. In fact, a lot of money, time and effort is put into accommodating these various activities of the children.
But when does a child go from enjoying herself to being over burdened? How much is too much?
One of the first symptoms to watch for is the enthusiasm level of the child. Does she drag herself around to various activities? Doesn`t she seem enthusiastic or interested anymore? Is she getting irritable and angry?
As parents, it is our duty to watch out for these tale-tell signs and step in with appropriate measures.
How many activities does your child take part in? Has she got adequate time put aside for her homework and school projects? Does she have the time for a personal life? Has she no time for her family or friends?
It is very important that every child has time to relax, chat with friends, read a book or watch a bit of TV.
If you think she is over loaded, sit down with her. Ask her to make a list of all her activities and obligations. She then needs to prioritise them. Which of them are absolutely necessary? School projects and homework come into this category.
Then come the activities she is really enthusiastic about. The ones that make a difference to her life, because they help her feel good about herself.
And last of all are the ones that don`t really mean much to her.
How much time does each of the activities take? Take into consideration the commuting time and convenience too.
What are the things she could drop off her list without really missing it? Ask her to choose, so that her life becomes easier and she will have more time to herself.
Though children need our guidance at this stage, they may resent any firm rule that is being laid down about their interests.
Don`t lay down rules of what she may or may not do. This isn`t disciplinary action. You are merely helping her decide so her life gets more balanced out.