Over-scheduling Children to Exhaustion

8:25 PM

Everyday, I see children go through their day seemingly having a very tight schedule of some sort not quite different from a working adult.  In the morning , they go to school. After, they have to attend tutoring classes or special subject classes, but not without attending a group meeting for projects or club meetings on the side.  On weekends, many children are still into it, participating in various extra-curricular activities in sports, dancing, singing, and what-have-you.  The result: A seriously tired child who barely has the strength be alive and kicking on the first day of school every week.

The Pressure

With so many suggestions, recommendations, and opinions about child rearing which are coming from all directions, the pressure is automatically triggered on parents who typically want the best for their children. Parents are all-ears to the latest innovations that would supposedly contribute to the holistic development of their children.  This wouldn't be so bad if it were not for the tendency of some parents to over-do things in the belief that it would be better for their children.  The thing is, sometimes parents over-do it in the fear that they may not be doing enough to push their kids to achieve their potentials.

Just look at the picture often presented of a model child.  A well-rounded child is healthy, has good grades, excels in a sport or a specific talent, and is popular in school, and does this all with nary a strand of hair out of place.  The presented picture is often enough to make some parents insecure in their parenting abilities when they see their children deficient in one, some , or all in comparison.  When parents decide to push their children to conform to the model presented, the pressure inevitably is shared or even transferred to the child.

For the Love of Parents

We all know how children, especially the young, like to please their parents.  They tend to obey without question if it will make their parents happy.  They will go to every talent and academic class their doting parent enrolls them in and drop in exhaustion at the end of the day without complaint.  The absence of complaints however is not an indication that everything is alright especially if physical, social, and mental manifestations of the child show otherwise.

A Child's Ideal Day

There is only so much activity that children can perform in a day so their well-being and productivity for the following days will not be affected.  An ideal day for a child should include being able to eat the proper meals on time, performing the main task for the day , indulging in recreation, and rest.  A typical school day requires studying to be the main task and the preferred interest as recreation.  It is the reverse on weekends.  Children should be given more time for recreation although time will still have to be allotted for some assigned school work.

Pursuing sports, hobbies, and other informal learning should be strategically placed in the remaining time and scheduled in such a way that can allow children to still enjoy what they are doing.  There will still be a need to squeeze in family time, friend time, and alone time in between.  A day can certainly be very short if everything has to be considered and done.

My Say

More isn't always best.  This is especially true when parents cram too much activity in a child's day.  Requiring children to do too much and what is obviously beyond their normal capacity is counterproductive.  What is beneficial is a balance of structured activity, playtime and rest.  A child with nothing to do is likewise an unpreferred extreme.

That said, with the exception of a few misguided ones, parents basically want to provide their children the best opportunities that life offers.  However, parents should avoid pursuing parental avenues that make them opt for decisions that are not applicable and suitable to their own children's circumstances.  Knowing what not and what to do in relation to their children is the foremost challenge faced by all parents.  Our children are giving us clues.  We just need to be more attuned to them.  Parents have nothing to gain in the end when they over-schedule their children to exhaustion. 

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  1. I agree sometimes parents are so engrossed in adding some additional activities like sports, summer classes, etc into a child's schedule. The problem is they tend to lose out on their time to rest or be kids who can have play and have vacation time in between.

  2. Understanding our kid's abilities and interests would help us more into what type of activity/ies we should put them into and not what we want them to join to. For example forcing your kid to join a swimming class when his/her interest is into music. And I agree with you, too much of everything (activity, etc..) will never prosper or have a good result, not just for the kids, for adults as well.

  3. I totally agree on this. Stressing too much eduction to them doesn't help anymore. To think when they get home they still have to finish their homeworks. Poor children.

  4. Agree with your points mam. Kids doesn't need too much of that, things should go on moderation.

  5. too much of anything is bad. Parents should not push their children to aim for the best at all cost. Just let them do things in ways that suit their physical, mental and social parameters.

  6. I agree! Many schools ask to much of their strengths, abilities and most of all time. Sometimes even their weekends are still dedicated to it. I guess as parents, that's where we come in, not to pressure them so but assist them in any ways possible. Most so telling them how they are loved and cared for.

  7. Amen. This is one of the reasons why I'm very pro-Montessori. Montessori schools have a knack for bringing out excellence without the exhaustion.

  8. I believe kids need to enjoy themselves being a kid and enjoy a lot of things they can treasure and remember when they grew old. xx

  9. I strongly agree, kids should enjoy their childhood to the fullest, minsan lang sila magiging bata.

  10. This is somehow related to my latest post regarding kids but you tackle more on grown ups already. But just the same, as mothers we should know our children's capabilities and limitations. They have their own initiatives and self-discipline. Sometimes, they want to decide for themselves especially the kids of today's generation. They seem to be more independent. Our role is to guide them and make sure they find time for everything... studies and other activities.

  11. I only wish my parents could have read this when I was a child and was so exhausted I barely had time to sleep!

    Now that I am a parent, I make sure my kids get plenty of rest and ask them what activities they want to join, but I don't force them to if they don't feel like joining any because I understand that school can be quite tiring already.

    At the end of the day, as long as my kids are happy and are basically good kids, then I'm happy. :D

  12. I couldn't agree with you more. All work and no play makes one dull. If we adults get over-fatigued, what more with kids, right? That's why I let my daughter play even on weekdays. We try to strike a balance between study and play. Amazingly, she ends up having better grades that way :)

  13. Hahay every parent should know that they should not force their children to be superman and superwoman. Hindi lahat gifted. Hindi lahat ng nakikita sa tv programs yun na yun. When we were kid hindi naman uso ang tutor ah, wala din mga ballet, piano, violin at kung ano ano pang lessons pero look at us? Dba? Hehe

  14. This is why "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" and us parents should know how to balance and give enough fresh air for our children.

  15. I don't think my daughter is having a problem with this yet. She's still on the "playing" stage. I'll remember these tips when she gets a little older.


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