Most of us have faced this dilemma at one point: should I keep my kid occupied as much as possible or allow them to have more free time to play? Everyone who has ever thought about it must have realised the advantages and disadvantages of both options. And the most realistic ones have tried to strike a balance between them.
This not an easy task, though. What happens very often is that parents overburden their kids with extracurricular activities to the point that the young ones are exhausted and unable to focus on pretty much anything. So, what can we do to avoid this common trap?
The first thing you have to check is whether your kid is getting enough quality sleep. It’s important for them to be ready and rested for the next day and sleep is a necessary precondition. If they are sleep-deprived, they might experience health and developmental issues, such as verbal creativity and problem-solving.
Needless to say, kids need to play a lot. This activity reduces stress, but improves problem-solving and creative thinking. Also, it’s through games that they develop social skills and understanding between the effort invested and outcome. So, make sure they take part in some kind of structured activities that allow for exploration and interaction, be it the Little League or something else.
It happens quite often that there aren’t two family members who can dine at the same time. This problem is particularly prominent in the western countries, but let’s focus on kids all over the globe. They need to have a fixed period which they’ll spend with their family, away from other obligations. Not only will that be a period of rest, but also an invaluable way of strengthening the family bonds.
In order to be able to grasp the scope of your kid’s extracurricular activities, create a 24-hour schedule that includes all obligations. This should give you a very good idea about how burdened your kid is. Make sure you shade out time for school, homework, family dinner and playtime and sleep first. What’s left is the time you have for other activities. Don’t forget to calculate the time you need to drive them to and back from their activities, since you don’t want to rush to get to the next one. That creates panic and frustration, which you don’t want your kid to face.
You may find yourself in a situation that your kid is spending a lot of time doing homework and studying. If you see that they are getting frustrated and don’t have time for anything else, it’s time to step in. At least that’s what many Australian parents are doing. Experts in the increasingly popular tutoring in Brisbane can help you overcome such problems by providing efficient and necessary encouragement to your kid.
Though kids need some structure in their lives, you may reach a point when they simply feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, you don’t want them to grow up believing that quitting is always the best option. So, when should we allow them to quit? Well, you need to be able to distinguish between a tantrum and a sign that your kid is truly miserable or exhausted.
Most children will complain openly if they feel like they’re under too much stress, but some won’t. That’s why you, as a parent, need to be alert at all times and take some steps if you notice any of the following signs:
Don’t freak out if you kid is occasionally bored. Also, don’t react immediately by organising some kind of activity for them. Let them figure out for themselves how to make use of the time available. It’s the period when they need to demonstrate how good they are at collecting information, processing it and thinking critically. If they manage to entertain themselves, they’ll be more likely to do well later in life.
Childhood should be the best part of everyone’s life and we shouldn’t ruin it for our own kids. If we manage to find the balance between free time and extracurricular activities, we’ll be able to give them the best of both worlds.
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