When it comes to keeping kids busy, how many sports or activities should your child be in at one time?
A sports parent asks:
How many different sports and activities should your child partake in? Is there a recommended maximum for extracurricular activities, individual and team sports?
That’s a tough question. Each kid is different. Each family is unique. Parents have different financial resources and energy levels.
So I am not going to answer that question with a number. I am going to give some guidelines to help YOU make the decision.
1. Ask yourself WHY you are signing your child up for an activity or sport. Is it to keep them busy so you don’t have to figure out what to do with them? Is it to give them exercise and get them off the family settee? Is it to help them make friends?
If you can first figure out your motivation as a parent for why you keep your kids busy, it might help you understand where to draw the line.
If it’s just to help them make friends, one activity should be enough. If it’s to help them get exercise, one sport is enough.
Keeping kids busy just for the sake of getting them out of your hair? I’m okay with that every now and then; after all, a parent needs a break. But having that as the motivation for all their activities? Not a good parenting habit.
Knowing what you are trying to achieve in signing your child up for an activity will help you decide what he really needs to be doing.
2. Look for signs that your child is too busy.
- he may feel tired, anxious, or depressed
- she may complain of headaches and stomachaches, which may be due to stress, missed meal, or lack of sleep
- he might fall behind on his schoolwork, causing his grades to drop
- overscheduling can also push friends and family life aside.
3. Reserve time for your kid to just be a kid. If your child has no time to cruise the neighborhood on his bike, play at the park, indulge in some video games, watch a movie, read, work on a puzzle, build a monstrous lego fortress, play barbies, or do whatever it is they love to do,then your child is too busy. Parents do not need to schedule every free minute of their kid’s day. Your child needs time to play freely and just BE.
4. Can you afford it? Should you really be spending the money to keep your kid in multiple activities? Do you even have the time or the energy to run them from one activity to another?
Now, re-evaluate your kid’s activity choices and weed out the fluff. You and your child will be saner for it.
Blog post image obtained from: Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net