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Are Your Kids Too Busy?

January 29, 2018

Not long ago, I visited a daycare to give a training presentation on aggressive behaviour in children. At some point, one of the childcare providers told us how she noticed that the children in her group tend to be more aggressive when they are tired—and she was absolutely right!

As adults, being tired, impatient, irritable and emotional is often a package deal. Well, same goes for our children; they just have different ways of showing it depending on the stage they’ve reached in their development.

Between Obligations and Activities

More and more children have busy schedules. This is the result of our own loaded schedules, often working full-time (and sometimes overtime) for companies across town, meaning long commuting time. And once we get home, all we want to do is clear our heads after our day—which is completely normal—whether through sports, arts, or anything else for that matter!

We also want our kids to be stimulated enough to ensure their sound development by trying out different things, and we wish to instill work ethics and values like perseverance and so forth.

When it becomes too much

For some families, having this kind of schedule is just too much to handle. Is this your case? If you are constantly tired and feel like your whole week is spent in the car driving to one or other of your family’s activities, or if you miss the downtime with your loved ones (like a nice family dinner) and can’t remember when this last happened … then the answer is probably “yes.”

How to Go Back to a Balanced Schedule

The first step to slowing down is prioritizing: which activities are essential to our well-being? And to our children’s? These activities should have their slot in your routine. Then, which activities come in second or third place, or even further down the list? Can you remove them from your busy schedule?

How many nights a week do you want to stay home? How do you want to spend your weekends with your family? Are your planned activities the reason why you can’t achieve these ideals? If so, maybe you could consider limiting the number of activities you have each week, or just skip some of these every now and then.

You could also leave your Sunday mornings free for some downtime in our pyjamas reading a book or listening to some music. Saturday nights could be your weekly movie night with the family and an oversized bag of popcorn. You might even want to consider just sending the kids outside to play while you enjoy some “you time” time doing whatever you like or … doing absolutely nothing!

Having some free time is essential to your well-being (both physical AND mental), and so is boredom. Yes, being bored is important, because it helps you learn about yourself, take initiative and choose what hobbies really interest you.

So go and enjoy your boredom!

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