Is your child’s schedule so jam-packed that they have very little free time? How much is too much? We talk to a parenting expert to learn how to recognize the signs that your child has too much going on.
These days it’s the norm to have your child registered for plenty of activities. In fact, you may even be looked down upon if you don’t. But there comes a point when your child can have too much going on and no free time to be themselves and to explore. How can you tell if your kid is overscheduled? Pay close attention to their behaviour and actions, and if they exhibit any of the following, says parenting expert Terry Carson, take them as a warning flag that activities should be cut back on.
Your child is just plain exhausted
This may be perhaps the most obvious sign. If they have so much going on that they simply can’t keep their eyes open, maybe it’s time to cut back on activities. Does your child often nod off when watching television? That’s one big cue, says Carson.
Your child is grouchy
Your usually sweet child is now irritable and snaps back from time to time. This is another sign your child’s plate is too darn full.
Your child is gaining weight
Think about it: When you are stressed, you probably eat more — likely comfort foods that pack on the pounds. The same goes for your child. If they have a lot going on and feel stressed, they may start to eat more without realizing it. So pay attention to any changes in their physical appearance for signs of scheduling stress, says Carson. “If they’re mindlessly eating and wolfing food down,” says Carson, that’s something to keep an eye on.
Your child can’t fall asleep easily
While your child may nod off out of sheer exhaustion (see above), having difficulty falling asleep may be an indicator of the overscheduling stress they’re experiencing. “If your child is tired, they should naturally fall asleep within 10 minutes or so,” says Carson. If they’re restless and tossing and turning, their stress levels may be in overdrive, she says.
Your child’s grades are slipping
If your child’s grades are typically pretty steady but start changing and it appears to be tied into an uptick in the number of their activities, consider having them cut down on everything they’re involved in.