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Old 01-22-2008, 06:23 PM
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Are our kids too busy?

Kids today seem to have so many choices of after school activities to pick from--sports, academic teams, band, drama, jobs, church group, service clubs etc. Sometimes my Dd leaves the house at 7:30am and doesn't return until 10:30 pm. It seems to becoming a normal routine not only for her, but many kids. My Dd is in high school ,but I know of many elementary aged children who have a scheduled activity every night of the week.

Are our kids too busy?
Do you set limits on the number of activities your child can do?
Do you think the more activities the better?
Do your kids have time for family and relaxing? Do feel that keeping your children involed keeps them out of trouble?
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:44 PM
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Are our kids too busy? Yes
Do you set limits on the number of activities your child can do? Will have to this year
Do you think the more activities the better? No
Do your kids have time for family and relaxing? Yes, but I plan to build in a little more this year
Do feel that keeping your children involved keeps them out of trouble? I think it depends on what they are involved in and who with. I think sports teams can promote a healthier lifestyle. I enjoy most of the things my teens do with our Church as well. My biggest problem is the homework. I know they need to knwo how to study and all the reasons for homework, but it the thing that annoys me most of all their outside school activities.

We are just about to launch into the new year and ds hopes to join a tennis club in place of his drama classes. He would also like to learn electric guitar. At Church he helps out 6 weeks a term with a primary aged program on a Monday night, and helps at Kids Church, then he is involved late Sunday afternoon and early evening with youth programs and about 4 or 5 Fridays a month. So it is doable. He has at least 3 nights a week home and most Saturday afternoons.
Dd is a bit busier,. She helps at the primary program Monday nights, works Tuesday after school, leadership program Wed after school (home by 5:30pm), piano Thursday (home by 5:30pm), and three Fridays a term. Saturdays completely free. Sunday: Kids Church am and Youth from 3pm - 7:30pm.
Neither have a regular late night out except Friday.
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:27 AM
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I definitely limit my elementary- and middle-school-aged children's activities but I don't do that with my high-schooler.

That may be because he is a fairly good judge of his own limits. He doesn't like to be so scheduled that he doesn't have time for fun with his friends or even just some downtime with a video game.

When I was in high school I was very overcommitted and I gradually learned how to limit that to what was reasonable for me.

I do not believe "the more activities, the better." I'm very protective of family time and down time for my kids.

My high-school-age son is quite involved in sports, Boy Scouts, and a few clubs at school (ranging from service organizations to just plain fun).
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:22 PM
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I pretty much agree with what has been said here so far. I do think it is important for kids to be involved in activities, but finding that right mix that allows for family and relaxing time is also important.
One thing that I have always been strict about when my kids had activities is---you still have to help out at home. I think it is important for them to know even though they are busy there are still chores at home that they are responsibile for.
Lastly, we have never allowed our kids to be involved in activities that take place on Sunday---other than church related things. Sunday is set aside for church and family. I am hoping this will be a "habit" that they continue with when they leave my house.
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:56 PM
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I think a lot of kids are way too busy - but probably I thinkso just because I don't like to drive my kids to too many of them (lazy mom). My almost 5 and 6.5 y.o. sons are going once a week to 1 hour art class for more than 2 years now, and once a week to Russian language class (second year). I know I'd better start some athletic activity, hopefully sometimes in the spring I will have more money for that. But I don't think it will be more than once a week. And still not sure what it will be. If I wasn't working full time, I would also love them to learn music...
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:49 AM
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One thing I didn't mention is that when they sign up for something they have to complete it! If you decide after three weeks that you don't love basketball, well there is a team that has counted on you and you need to play the season out. Then they can change at the end of the season (whenever that may be). With ds and piano he had to stick at it for 6 months. Then he could make the choice. This helps get past those moments when there is a lot of pressure or a bit of boredom setting in. It is really hard when it seems few families have that sense of committment any more.
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:11 AM
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The rule here for new things is if it's a yearly sign up that has a yearly fee, you have to complete that year.
If it doesn't have a fee you have to try for at least 6months.
I don't believe in having something to do/an event each afternoon but I believe they do need something that takes them out of the house and away from school at least 1 afternoon.
Both my boys did cricket which involved 1 afternoons training and a game sat morning, only ds2 does this still. He also plays guitar 1 afternoon.
ds1 used to do both but he got himself a part time job while still at school and prefered that, but he played his guitar because he could.

They need at least some physical outlet to get all their edginess and frustrations out, I also think the disciplin helps as we all know that kids will listen to someone else but not mum or dad LOL

I think they need a limit on afterschool activities as once you go to school, do your extra then your homework, when do the kids get to be kids?

Our get to gether time is usually dinner but we do bike rides and play in the back yard together.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:09 AM
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I think the amount of time spent on outside activities depends on the kid. DD1 wasn't involved in many activities. She really struggled with her schoolwork, and we'd spend a couple of hours everyday on homework. (Thankfully, she just completed high school!) She hates sports. She did take piano lessons for four years, and then guitar for one year. Both of these were one day a week, plus 20 minutes of practice everyday.

DD2 is completely different. She wants to be as busy as possible. She is a good student and gets good grades. She does competitive cheerleading. This involves practice three days a week and about 5 or 6 competitions a year. When there is a competition, there are extra practices, sometimes amounting to 5 a week. She would like to play soccer as well, but we have told her she has to choose. It's not fair to either team if she cannot fulfill her commitments.

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Old 08-31-2008, 01:43 PM
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I have always limited my 3 dks to only two activities at a time, mainly because with 3 dks and me being the only one available to drive them, I just couldn't be everywhere at once. My dd always did dance and drama. Ds1 did soccer and track, ds2 does track and this year may try soccer. they have tried other sports of the years and always finished a season but ended up sticking with the sports they liked best. I wish my dks had learned to play an instrument but they never really asked to. Ds1 is not teaching himself to play the guitar. I offered to get him lessons but he wants to teach himself so I am letting him. I think kids need down time as much as they need to be involved. They need time to unwind, daydream and even be bored sometimes to stimulate their creative side. I like Barbszy's idea of letting her ds decide on how many activities he can do in high school because that gives him independence and teaches him how to set limits and not over commit, all useful skills in college and in work. Younger children definitely need more guidance. I used to work as a nanny for 3 children and they were so over scheduled they used to cry and ask me not to make them go to whatever was the next activity or lesson. I vowed never to do that to my own children.
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megrayau
One thing I didn't mention is that when they sign up for something they have to complete it! If you decide after three weeks that you don't love basketball, well there is a team that has counted on you and you need to play the season out. Then they can change at the end of the season (whenever that may be). With ds and piano he had to stick at it for 6 months. Then he could make the choice. This helps get past those moments when there is a lot of pressure or a bit of boredom setting in. It is really hard when it seems few families have that sense of committment any more.
I agree with this. We made our kids go by this rule. The only time that this was changed was if school grades were suffering. I pulled my son out of wrestling in the middle of the season years ago because was struggling in school so much. We spent the time doing extra school work instead. That was the year I decided to keep him back in 3rd grade. Best thing I ever did for him.


Now he is 20 yrs old and in community college.
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