As a mom of three children--10, 8 and 2 1/2--I have already experienced the idea of "MOM's TAXI." Something I've heard from several other moms recently is the idea that as parents, we have our own balancing act and our kids are participating in it. Except that they might not be able to handle it as well as we do. Children tend to just "check out", as I call it when my kids may have a melt down. Crying and yelling is the most consistant result of over scheduling, because they are just stressed and over tired. OK, not so different from us moms, huh?
I think we need to try and let our kids be kids. Last Friday when I looked out in the backyard at the eight boys playing football with my son, amongst the fallen fall leaves, I thought to myself "this is what it is all about!" If there was a way to create more of these type of scenarios in my kids' lives then I would feel that I was doing a better job as a mom.
So how can we do it?
Here are my simple tips--and believe me, it is not always easy to stick to your guns.
1. Allow your children to choose TWO extra-curricular activites ONLY.
2. If your kids are too young to be choosing, then they only should be doing ONE! or none at all.
3. This is a great way to start teaching your children about making decisions: DO not give in!
4. If there is something new they would like to try and it will put them up to three activities, let them know they need to finish out one and then they can try the new one. Don't let them quit mid-stream and have them make the choice.
5. Do not place your kids in activities YOU like, let them pick.
6. It is ok when they are young to let them try many different things. My daughter has tried piano, professional dance, acting, gymnastics, swimming--the list goes on.
7. Remember that as your kids get older, they will have more and more homework, so over scheduling can start to effect the quality of work for school as well.
8. Be sure your kids are having fun and are being kids!