Early this morning, as I rolled over to hit the snooze button for the last time (yes, I am that person, don't judge), a fleeting moment of doubt crossed my mind; am I doing too much?
I ask this question because recently I have added to my already busy schedule by accepting a coaching position at a local high school. My work hours have changed, my family and social life has been affected, my sleep schedule; right out the window! It has been a big change, some days are harder than others, but to me, it's worth it. My new responsibilities are important to me, I have fun and love the impact I'm (hopefully) making on my young athletes. This is why my irritation this morning was only fleeting. For only a moment here and there do I question why I choose to have every moment of my day filled by some sort of obligation.
Right now I don't have kids to add to that mix, but many parents experience a full day of their own and top it off with their kids' activities, often times multiple kids with multiple obligations.
It seems that children, and adults these days are expected to
meet such high expectations. Kids are involved in so many after school activities, whether it's swim lessons, music practice, dance class or about a million other choices, many of which are all during the same season! Extracurricular activities are important for children's social development, health and wellbeing but how do you know when it's too much? Here are some questions to consider.
- Is your child sleeping enough? Do they fall asleep at inopportune times or have bags under their eyes?
- Does your child consistently put up fights when they have to go to practice or class? Do they throw tantrums more often than before they started an activity?
- Has your child's schoolwork declined?
- Do you have real family time, like enjoying dinner together or have time for real conversations?
- Do they have enough down time to recuperate?
If many of these questions raise some concern it might be time to simplify. If your child is involved in more than one activity, try moving one to a different season if possible. Instead of trying to juggle both soccer and swim lessons, try moving swim lessons to an indoor pool and enjoy them during the winter months. Get honest feedback from your child, ask them how they are feeling and what activity is their favorite. You may feel that some activities are more important than others, it's good to make those a priority and the others extra options at possibility a better time.
Remember to think about yourself as well. Sure, you want the best for your children and want them to experience all that the world has to offer, but you still need to think about your needs as well. Often times as adults we tend to take on more than we should which can cause stress, anxiety and exhaustion. Take a step back and think of the questions above, but instead, think of yourself rather than your child. If they raise concerns from your perspective, it's time to have a talk with yourself and make some adjustments.
We all want to say we can do it all, but sometimes it's worth our sanity to take a step back and prioritize our commitments, understand what it is that is motivating us and define what works best for our current situation. Every family and individual is different and it's up to you to decide what is too much for you and your family.
Do you have any tips on how to prioritize activities or organize time spent on social or extracurricular commitments? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!