The topic of parents who have over-committed their kids with too many extracurricular activities is old news by now. While parents do not intentionally set out to over-commit their kids, many end up doing this nonetheless. Often, this occurs when kids ask to be signed up for other activities they are interested in, but friends’ parents sometimes ask them to join an activity or team as well.
The bottom line, however, is that kids simply cannot do everything under the sun. Kids often do not understand time management, and they also may not understand what their limitations are with regards to energy. There are times when parents do need to step in and take control of their child’s schedule a bit more fully. So how many extracurricular activities is too many for kids? Consider these points:
Time Commitment Required: First, consider the time commitment required to be fully involved in each activity. Many parents sign up for sports teams and don’t have time to bring their kids to the games or practices. Likewise, they may sign up for scouts and other group events, but they lack the time available to fully participate. When you sign up for group or team activities, failing to have time available to fully participate affects others who have signed up. For example, consider how a sports team is at a disadvantage when they are constantly playing on a team with fewer players than every other team has.
Physical Demands: The physical demands of certain activities are far more significant than the physical demands of other activities. For example, signing your child up for soccer and football can be grueling, especially if they must play a soccer game and a football game on one day. However, signing a child up for scouts and piano lessons is less physically demanding. Make sure your child has the physical ability to participate in the number and type of activities you are considering before you sign him or her up.
Downtime: Years ago, kids didn’t participate in as many sports and other activities because it was entirely safe for them run around their neighborhood and head to the park down the street to play. Now, however, parents prefer to give their kids structured activities to keep them engaged and entertained in a safe way. However, parents also need to consider how much downtime their child has. Kids run, play, socialize, and learn all day long. Extending this into the evening hours every night of the week can be absolutely exhausting for them. Consider how much downtime your child has before signing him or her up for another activity.
Here are a few other articles written by this author:
How Positive is Your Parenting?
Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends
Kids and Friend Drama: When to Step In