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.
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.
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.