Thursday, January 26, 2012

"I'll Pencil You In" - The Overscheduled Child

In a world where being busy is the norm for most individuals, today's children are no exception. In addition to school, children have a multitude of extracurricular activities and are often jumping from one activity to another. Many parents feel that they should keep their children involved in activities, and doing so will keep them out of trouble. However, an over-worked, over-stressed child may face alternative problems from being too busy.

Research has shown that children involved in extra-curricular activities are less likely to be involved in risky behavior and have higher motivation for achievement. However, some children are over-involved in activities and may experience stress, anxiety, and burnout. Parents must intervene and help their children regulate activity involvement and break time to enjoy childhood.

How do parents recognize that their child is over-scheduled? Research has shown that increases in daily activities lead to higher levels of stress. Bouncing from one activity to another has left many children overwhelmed, stressed, and tired. Here are some questions to ask, to determine whether a child is overscheduled:

• Does the child go from one activity to another with little or no enthusiasm?

• Is the child having trouble sleeping at night?

• Does the child complain of not having enough time to spend with their friends?

• Is the phrase “hurry up or we'll be late” used excessively?

• When did the child last participate in “quality” family time?

• Does your child have time to explore different interests (other than activities) that they may have?

Research has shown an overbooked child leads to a less active teenager. Simply put, over-scheduled children become burned out later in life. Research also suggests that children who have played a sport with intensity for an extended period of time eventually tire of the activity as it becomes routine and just something to pass time, while the love of the sport is lost. The problem with these children is the vast number of activities replaces the experience they have with each. It becomes a struggle between quantity and quality. After burnout, children lose the desire to participate in other activities during later adolescent years and may become idle.

Download the complete publication “I’ll Pencil You in – The Overscheduled Child” By Eboni J. Baugh at:

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