Between band practice, tae kwon do, tennis practice, choir, volunteering down at the church shelter, and private singing lessons, your son or daughter is bound to excel at something, now aren’t they? You’re going to make sure of it. No idle minds in your household. Busy kids mean productive kids.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthy or happy kids. Stop stretching those poor children so thin. It’s not just me saying it. It’s science. Well, sort of.
A study by a Kent State doctoral student might prove that packing your children’s schedules too tight leads to earlier burn-out and perhaps even depression way before they get close to their prime, let alone arrive at it.
It’s cool to be busy — who doesn’t want to have a “schedule” to throw around in casual conversation in wistful phrases like “let me check my schedule” — but kids still need plenty of downtime to loaf and chill and stare into space and think weirdo hormonal thoughts like a typical, spaced-out child.
In my humble little blogger opinion, parents are usually super busy themselves and deflect that on-the-go lifestyle onto their kids, either purposefully because they think they’re going to benefit from it (think school applications) or because they need their little ones to keep up with their own hustle and flow.
Either way, the constant bustling has other price tags. Too many meals at McDonald’s because you’re too busy rippin’ and tearin’ to cook at home. Too little time to really get to know what’s going on in your child’s life, aside from the mini-conversations you have in the car en route to the umpteenth activity on the family roster. And heck, too much living by the clock because you have to be here, there, and everywhere and not enough time to stop and smell the doggone cherry blossoms.
So sit down and be still once in a while. Maybe even more often than that. Scientific studies say it's good for all of you.
How many nights a week are your kids on the go? How busy is too busy?
Image via Nesher Guy/Flickr