A perennial problem that may challenge your family is over scheduled children. Do you worry about your child’s resume so that they may get into that prominent school you have dreamed of? Many over scheduled kids have long-term stress and most of all they are not happy.
Your family needs to decide what memories you want your child to have of their childhood. Do you want your child’s core memories to be of chaos, arguing, exhaustion, anxiety, sadness and even depression? Do you want them to remember being driven to their limit by you in order to perform for a future school or reward? Continually remind your entire family of your family’s priorities and values in life. Use these values as magnets to draw you back home.
Here are a few tips to bring your family back into rhythm.
- Meeting alone with each child. Make a wish list with each child, “Want to do list,” and “Can do list.” Are there too many sports, instruments to play, and trying to fit tutoring in too? Make a time sheet from 3-8 P.M. Then choose the reality of what is possible. This also helps the child not blame you. They are involved in this choice according to the amount of time available. This schedule must include down time, family dinner and play time.
- Family meeting. Everyone needs to be flexible. The family meets with everyone’s calendar to make hard choices. If Joe wants to do something that interferes with Susan’s event this semester the maybe Susan gets her turn next semester.
- Family Meals. Research shows family meals are the glue of the family. Focus on breakfast and dinner together as a goal.
- Play. Play is a key developmental marker in your child’s development. Make sure you set the example of play in your home. Shoot hoops, play some badminton, or go for a walk some time in the evening. Be more playful about life. Constantly being serious puts incredible pressure and stress on your child.
- Stress Education. Your children must learn to negotiate a very stressful world. Teaching your child and entire family about how to manage their stress is a critical facet of life these days. Your child may be academically prepared for their life but not emotionally. Teach your children the symptoms of stress, their stress triggers and what techniques help reduce their stress.