Too Many Activities?

How can we simplify our lives and still keep our kids active.

by: Mo Poland
busy kids

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I see it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram nearly every day: parents sharing their excitement over registering their kids for more and more extracurricular activities. A baby taking swimming lessons, a two-year-old taking skating lessons, three-year-olds playing team sports. So many young parents complaining about how busy their lives are with their kids' activities, but they are not doing anything to simplify things.

Can't kids just be kids? Can't they have time to just sit and play or run around in the backyard.

Many families have something scheduled nearly every night of the week. Kids are stimulated all day long at school and then rushed off to another activity. And parents wonder why their kids can't sit still, and complain about being bored when something isn't planned.

If you never give a child time to just play and use their imagination, they forget how.

Is this because we all want the next great NHL-er or Olympian? Or do we just want to keep them active?

With summer over, and schooljust starting, I panic a little at thinking how busy life will get. My first born started Junior Kindergarten, and it is a big adjustment for us all. I'm worried that he will be the only kid in his class not enrolled in several sports and activies.

Of course we will talk to him about taking skating or swimming lessons, but we won't force it, and he won't do both at once. It's partially a cost issue as these activities are expensive. It's partially a time issue, because I don't want to spend every night of the week driving him or his sister to activities. But mostly, I want my kids to enjoy being kids.

I want them to have time to play with their toys, to run around in the backyard and to ride their bikes, to cuddle on the couch watching movies, and for us to sit as a family and talk about our day over dinner every night.

I want life to be simple. I might be asking too much.

It's a tough balance though—one of spending quiet time doing simple things—but also wanting our kids to be active. My kids are constantly on the move at home, running and playing; is that enough physical activity? We also go for walks regularly, and we will be walking to school every day, too. Will that be enough? Maybe they do need that swim class and hockey practice this year.

Perhaps parents are doing this to keep their kids active, since so many kids are stuck on school buses and in front of the TV. But does it always have to be done in such an organized and hectic manor?

Wouldn't life be more enjoyable and simpler if you just went to the park and chased them around, instead of rushing them off to the area and sitting back and watching them. As they say, lead by example. We need the activity as much as they do.

I'm a wife, a mom of two, and a writer. Trying to live a healthy life on a tight budget, without being a slave to coupons. I love to clean, play with my kids, and cuddle with my husband while watching movies. I blog at