Are your kids being pressurised to kids to do too much too soon? If a child’s afternoon is choc o block with organised activities, kids may not be getting enough time to actually just be kids or even just spend valuable time with the family.
Over-scheduling kids with after school activities, can lead to increased levels of stress on the child and the family. It is important to get the balance right.
So how much is too much?
Should your child go to basketball practice 5 days a week? Are 3 days enough?
Often, parents are confused when it comes to understanding how much is too much with reference to after school activities.
Here is a simple guide that will help you decide how much is too much for your child.
5 years old:
Your child is just beginning to learn to interact and get used to discipline. Their after-school life should be simple and carefree. One or two classes per week are enough initially. If your child gets used to these and expresses an interest in more activities, introduce them gradually.
6 years old:
One or two activities per week, play dates and playground visits are encouraged. After a full day at school, your child needs a healthy outlet for pent up energy. Physical activities and noncompetitive sports are best for this age.
7 years old:
Your child is old enough to express opinions on what activities they are interested in. Many children begin to learn a musical instrument around this
age. However, allow your child some ‘alone time’ during which they can unwind.
8 years old:
Socialisation begins to become paramount. Team sports are a great choice. Developing motor skills, painting, drawing etc are also important. Let your child explore areas of interests. However, ensure to leave aside enough time for the family and play time.
9 years old:
At this age, the child will tell you what they like. They need to getinvolved in activities that will boost their confidence. This will also help them manage stress as this is the time when social pressure is beginning to take centre stage. However, homework will also be beginning to mount up. Therefore, it is important to balance schoolwork with other activities.
10 years old:
You child will be bubbling with energy and will want to do just about everything. However, they may conveniently push studies to the background. So, close supervision is required. Keep one or two days free for family time and other activities. Now is a fantastic time to get your child interested in community service.
11 to 13 Years Old:
Steer them away from TV. Encourage engagement in activities that fuel learning. Academic performance can be improved by encouraging them to join clubs like a scouts program, language clubs, chess clubs etc. As a rule of thumb, 16-20 hours a week of extra activities should be plenty. However, ensure to look out for signs of burn out.
As a parent, it is important to closely observe your child and base your decisions on feedback from them.