No matter how much technology a kid is surrounded with, the drive to participate in some kind of sporting activity outweighs the electronic draw. This seems true if the activity is fun. When it becomes too competitive, after the age of 13 kids find other activities and sports can get sidelined.
All over the world children find ways to play. The fear of virtual reality taking over the actual physical experience has thus far gone unfounded. As a whole, humans want to move and feel sensations that are not satisfied through mental avenues alone. It’s natural for kids to run and jump and engage in contact play. It’s a part of our nature.
We call in a residential plumber when the pipes get clogged, but who do we call if our child’s calendar gets clogged with too many activities? School, sports, music, theater, and volunteer work. How do we know when it’s healthy to draw a line and where does “fun” fit in?School-age children 6 – 18 years need to maintain a healthy balance physically, mentally and emotionally. With close to 22 million kids in the US alone involved in sports, clearly, this is one area that could swing the pendulum from one extreme to the other. However, it doesn’t stop there.
Are kids over-scheduled?
As with any popular issue, there are two sides to this controversial subject. Some parents think the more engaged the better. The opportunities presented children these days are awesome compared to generations before and there is a big segment of parents who think their kid will be left behind if they don’t join several activities.
Along with the array of choices of activities to participate within, there is the fact that in most households both parents have jobs outside the home. Extracurricular activities keep the child busy when the parents are unable to be with them in their off-school periods. A full schedule while hopefully learning and having fun under the supervision of a teacher, coach or counselor gives Moms and Dads peace of mind.
On the other hand, per clinical Psychologist Michael Thompson, author of The Pressured Child:
“As a general principle, there is a line between a highly enriched, interesting, growth-promoting childhood and an overscheduled childhood.”
Unknowingly, a highly active schedule can and does put a lot of pressure on a kid to do well. They want to please and impress their parents and peers. Their performances shape their self-identity and self-esteem. A standard is set – whether it’s by the child himself or the activity he is involved with. Living up to an often unrealistic standard can create anxiety and stress with some children and rob them of their time in life to just be a kid.
Children in the age group of 10 to 15 years are especially driven by parents to excel, but often more for the parents’ sake than the well-being of the child. If parents are highly motivated, naturally they want that same trait in their son or daughter, however that drive isn’t necessarily a one size fits all trait.
Being aware of a balance within child’s day is more important than pushing them to get the trophy or lead in a play. Making sure they are eating well, learning good hygiene habits, social skills as well as a good education along with learning to give and receive graciously, are all a part of what makes-up a healthy life.
Do you have kids? What is a typical schedule for your family? Are you all having fun yet? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.Tags: middle school, over achievers, over scheduling, School activities, sports