Children often seem to have much busier schedules than they used to. Perhaps when you think back to your childhood, you can remember one extracurricular activity a week. Maybe you were even a latchkey kid who did what they wanted after school. But these days, parents want their children and teens to use their spare time wisely. Extra-curricular activities can help to make them more well-rounded and, for teenagers, can look good on college applications too. But balancing extracurriculars with your child’s core education without overscheduling them can be challenging. So how do you make sure they still have time for schoolwork and aren’t getting too stressed?
Help Them Focus and Pursue a Goal
Some parents will try to encourage their children to do a broad range of after-school and weekend activities in the hope that they will become well-rounded. While it can be fun for children to explore different things, too many activities can be overwhelming. What’s more, it might not look as good on your teen’s college application as you think. What will look better is showing that they are pursuing a particular interest or goal. If they’re applying for theatre school and have dance classes and singing lessons, it will look better than lots of unrelated activities. It shows they have a goal in mind, rather than just trying out this and that.
Leave Time for Homework
One of the signs that your child has too many extracurriculars is if they don’t have time for homework. It’s important to make time to complete any school work so that they are still able to take care of their academic obligations. If your child is having to rush through their homework before their next activity or even try to get it done on the journey between one thing and the next, they’re overscheduled. They need time to sit down and do their homework without worrying about what’s next.
Ensure Plenty of Rest
Another sign that your child has too many things on their plate is if they’re not getting enough rest. Is your child getting at least eight hours of sleep each night? Are they lying awake when they should be sleeping or perhaps even having to go to bed late or get up early to complete their school work? As well as sleep, it’s also important to ensure downtime. Not only does it allow your child to rest, but it also means they have to find ways to entertain themselves too.
Know Your Child
Parents need to be in tune with their children to make sure they’re doing well at school and their extracurriculars don’t become too much. As well as knowing how your child is doing at school, you need to know how they feel about their extracurriculars. While you might be reluctant to let them quit an activity as soon as they say they don’t like it, you do need to know if they’re not enjoying something or it’s interfering with their schooling. Even when they are positively engaged with an extracurricular, it can distract them from their schoolwork.
BONUS TIP: If your child receives tutoring, remember to keep it in mind when planning extracurricular activities. It will also take up their time but will benefit their schooling too.