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5 Ways to Know if Your Child is too Busy

Today’s parenting culture is one of ambition and high expectation. In an age of increasing competition in all areas of the socioeconomic spectrum, we all want our kids not just to do well but to excel. In light of this, many parents forget to leave their children time for the simple things—playing outdoors, engaging in imaginative activities and such. We tend to think time that is not spent engaged in a productive activity is time wasted.

Having high expectations for one’s children is perfectly natural, and there are virtues to this parenting approach, but there must be a sense of balance. Kids who are not allowed to be kids tend to suffer in numerous ways, and it is up to the parents to make sure things do not go too far.

The trouble with this is that it can be difficult to know what is normal. Families live in their own insular worlds, and without extensive interaction with other families, you can never really know if your private family interactions are in line with the standards of your peers. So let us make it simple. Here are some ways you can know whether your child is too busy.

1. Shortage of interests: For most kids, school work is a necessity and does not qualify as an outside interest. If it seems like your child’s mind is constantly occupied with school-related things, this could be a problem. In this case, ease up on the responsibilities and encourage your child to do things that he or she truly wants to do.

2. He or she cannot keep up: If you child seems always behind on his or her school work yet puts plenty of effort into it, this is a sign that the load is too great and that you may need to find ways to give your child more free time.

3. Stagnant social life: When a child spends too much time on school and other responsibilities, it begins to take a toll on social activity. Children have different levels of social activity, but there is a problem if your child almost never sees friends outside school or does not seem to show an interest in making friends.

4. You cannot keep up: If your child’s responsibilities are so numerous that you and your spouse cannot keep up with them yourselves, this is a good sign that there is too much going on in your child’s life. Of course, you also may be busy, and having multiple kids can make the situation even more chaotic. But if you are having trouble keeping up with everything, maybe take a step back and ask yourself if your child could use a little more free time.

5. You do not have quality family time: If you feel your child is drifting away from you on a personal level and that you do not have enough old-fashioned quality time, take this feeling seriously, as quality time is essential for healthy families and for individuals within families. Make it a priority to just spend time together without feeling as if you need to be engaged in productive activities. There is nothing wrong with that.

By Marc Courtiol

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