Sunday, February 17, 2013

Are Our Kids Overscheduled?

I love to read our metroplex-based magazine called Ft. Worth Child. They have great activity ideas for families and fantastic articles on parenting.

A recent issue had an article whose title caught my eye, Fear and Overscheduling.

I took notice of it because just a few days before, I'd been chatting wtih my husband about how hard it has been to get playdates with some of my friends and their kids. I have a few friends who I literally have to get on their calendars several weeks in advance just so our boys can play together for an hour!

What do you think about that?

For me, it's totally overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I love a good playdate every  now and then, I love to get out of the house and go somewhere, but I just can't do it for several hours every day.

It's just too exhausting and I've found my boys get cranky and unruly when we're too busy.

I don't like to be busy for the sake of being busy. I'm a homebody for the most part. My boys seem to be ok staying home and playing a lot.

But when I talk to some of my friends and try to schedule playdates, I start doubting myself and thinking my boys don't have enough going on. So I sat down and wrote out our weekly schedule, and you know what? It looks pretty good to me!

  • Monday - Oldest at gymnastics or art class for 45 min, then we either go to the park or play at home. Usually no other 'scheduled' activities.
  • Tuesday - Oldest at preschool half day; youngest and I hang out and play at home or go to the park. After preschool, we hang out at home.
  • Wednesday - Every other week is MOPS for about 3 hours. This wears the boys out for the day. 3 hours of non-stop playing does little boys in!
  • Thursday - Oldest at preschool half day; youngest and I hang out and play at home or go to the park. After preschool, we hang out at home.
  • Friday - No scheduled activities. Maybe a playdate every now and then, but mostly play time at home.

With all of the things that are available to kids now, with all of the social media influences that we're bombarded with on a daily basis, it's easy for me to get way too caught up in the mommy guilt of not doing enough for my kids.

After reading that article, I started feeling better about the activity choices I've made for my kids. They have an entire lifetime of schedules, having to be somewhere at a certain time, organized sports, school, homework, college, a professional career.

Right now, I just want them to enjoy being carefree and not scheduled. I'm okay with that. What's more important, they're ok with that. Win-win.

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