The kids are settled into school and now you are looking at their extra-curricular time. I know you’ve already booked them into soccer, gymnastics, piano and/or drama. All the times and places are on your calendar which is full of notes. But is this really the best way to go? Let’s start the year by talking about life balance and our kids
Teaching Kids About Balance
There is a soccer tournament for eight to 8 to 12-year-old kids coming up next weekend. At school the players are talking about it in the halls. Let’s listen.
There are some children who are all excited. They say to their friends, “Guess what I get to do this weekend?” They can hardly wait to tell anyone who will listen all the details about the tournament and what position they play and how well they hope to do.
And then there are the children who sound bored and weary when they say “Guess what I have to do this weekend?” They have no more to say.
I am confident that we would all like for our children to be the ones who are anticipating the tournament with excitement, not those who are already dreading the event.
What’s the difference? Likely, it’s a question of balance.
Maintaining balance and juggling activities is epidemic among children and adults. And when we get overwhelmed with all the to-dos on our plate it’s not healthy. It’s not healthy whether we are young children or mature adults.
Too many children today are over-organized and have no balance in their lives. No time to just hang out, to dream, to create projects. Everything is scheduled.
There is a definite advantage to some scheduled activities. The problem arises when every moment of a child’s life is booked.
Interestingly, these are the kids who, if they do have a free moment, are more likely to announce that they are bored. They have learned that they can do nothing until there are adults around to provide structure and direction. So, even when their life is not scheduled they still expect adults to set the pace and tell them what to do.
These are the kids who also have problems once they arrive at a job or in a post-secondary education setting. At the job, they do fine when they have a direction and supervision. But when they finish a task, they wait for more direction. They take no initiative and if they are expected to figure out for themselves what should happen next, they become confused and eventually resentful. Of course, their harried bosses are also resentful of this employee who just isn’t a self-starter.
If they attend a post secondary institution they are the kids who fall apart in their first year. They haven’t the time management skills to handle classes, study and play. When you add into the mix that they also have to look after their laundry and cooking it turns into a nightmare for them. They look for an adult to take charge, but there are none around. They are expected to handle themselves on their own.
What do we do to ensure that this is not our child?
First, model a life with balance. When parents are always working, always scheduled and never have any down time, kids learn that this is the norm. They know that their Dad will always have a briefcase handy and that Mom is never away from her cell phone.
They will see their parents moving them madly from one activity to the other. Even if the folks stay to watch their child play soccer they will be pre-occupied in the stands and glancing up from time to time. Kids then become as obsessed with activities as their parents are with work.
But what if you had balance in your life? What if your whole family made time to take a break and catch their breath? Maybe the kids choose one sport and one other activity and that’s it. Maybe the family members leave all their electronics at home on Sunday and head out to a museum, park or swimming pool to just play together.
We can help our kids develop balance by just being balanced ourselves. If you want some motivation, I recommend an e-zine from Pauseworks. It takes only a few minutes to read and will keep you right on track.
Bring Kathy to your Community
Do you want to hear more? Kathy is always happy to come and speak in your community, at you event or as a workplace wellness presentation. On her website you can find more information on her material.
My presentations will share a basic value that I call
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face it, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I always have my kindle with me when I’m out and about.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
And Vive la Différence talks about the unique kids and situations which need a special look.
Come and take a look. These may be just the resource you need.