If you Google “over-scheduled kids,” you get over 3.8 million results in less than a second. Many lament the fact that kids nowadays have no downtime, and it’s having a detrimental effect on their health and lives.
We’ve all read about these stereotypical kids who go to school and then are shuttled from activity to activity. This, in turn, is creating grumpy, stressed-out kids who will then turn into bored teens.
Maybe you know some of these families. Hell, maybe you are one of these families.
Well, in a refreshing new article in the Washington Post, it seems that there are benefits to having an over-scheduled child. Some of the positive effects include skill building, higher self-esteem, a sense of purpose, and increased contribution to family, school, and community at large.
Participation in extra-curricular activities was almost always positive up to ten hours a week. However, one you hit the 20+ hours mark (or participating in five simultaneous activities or more) it could have adverse effects.
Great news, right?
Hold on a minute. Before you open up the local Parks and Rec catalog to sign little Johnny up for a few more sports and music lessons, remember that the people doing these studies don’t know your kids.
I have two boys who were raised in the same house. One participates in a sport that requires him to train approximately 10+ hours a week. On top of that, he also volunteers three to four hours a week, and in the spring, the DJ business he does on the side gets busy with school graduations and end of year parties. Add on that a high school homework load, and he’s quite busy most of the time.
My other son isn’t into extra-curricular activities and prefers to hang out with his friends at the park, and yes, playing video games.
Both kids are quite fine.
That’s the thing with these studies. You’re always going to find ones that agree or disagree with what you are currently doing. With only a few key strokes and the push of an Enter button, our Google-able world has given us the ability to see how we’re screwing up in less time than it takes to blink.
Maybe you have a daughter who thrives on taking part in three or four different activities. Or maybe your son just likes to chill with his friends.
Or you could have kids who started off thriving in a scheduled environment, but now because of school workloads or other commitments in your life, it’s not working out anymore.
At the end of the day, you know your child best. It’s okay to step away from Google and the studies that are telling you what you should and shouldn’t do and trust your instincts because all of our kids are different.
You’re doing just fine, mama.
Now with all the time you just saved you can learn how to make these wine slushies instead.