Editor's note: The author is Lisa Rodgers, a South Brunswick mother and PTO member.
Does your child's schedule look anything like this?
- Monday: Band practice, school, dance class/sports practice
- Tuesday: School, tae kwon do
- Wednesday: Band practice, school, cheerleading/sports practice
- Thursday: School, tae kwon do
- Friday: Band practice, school, football game
- Saturday: Gymnastics, karate tournaments
- Sunday: Religious Events/friends/family
Wow! I hope not. What is missing in that schedule? Where does homework, family time, relaxing, reading, meals, being a kid and sleep fit into that schedule? Don't tell me – your child wants to do all that, right?
Or maybe all those extracurricular activities were your idea. You only want what's best for your child. If he/she is going to make the varsity squad and take State Championship in martial arts it's going to take some dedication.
Hello! Your child is ten! Let them be a child. Growing up goes way too fast, don't hurry it along. Children need to be children while they can. Once they hit high school there will be much more pressure to excel because college will be right around the corner.
Children should have two main jobs: Being a child and being a student. How can they become proficient in either if they are over scheduled, over worked and constantly on the go?
Sure extracurricular activities can have a very positive influence on your child's development. But so can good grades and quality family time.
What would happen if you limited your child's extracurricular events to just one or two activities? Discuss all of them with your kid and let them chose the one or two after school activity to participate in. Right now, I only allow Scouts and one sport.
It may not be a popular decision, but it's a wise decision. Do you want to be your child's friend or your child's parent?
Explain that it is not a punishment. Remember you don't have to justify your actions. What you do need to do is make the best choices for your children while they are still young. Doing so will equip them to make their own smart decisions later in life.
Make a commitment to limit the extracurricular activities this school year. Or perhaps give it a six-month trial.
You may find parking Mom's Taxi for a while is good for everyone in the family and the environment!