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Entry into another school year often means tighter and more hectic schedules for both parent and child, the kids adding numerous extracurricular activities to a full day of classes, and parents feeling like they are “endlessly schlepping them from one activity to another”. Being back in school should not mean being back to being overloaded, and so here are some thoughts to consider.
a. Find a Balance: Limit the number of activities, providing time to play and just “be a kid”.
b. Realize the Benefits of Play: Encourages creativity & independent problem solving, improves social skills, and relieves stress.
c. Take a Day of Rest: Make 1 day per week free of activities, giving you and your children a well-deserved break --- sort of a non-religious Sabbath.
d. Choose Gifted Programs that are Gifted: More work, but less creativity, will make matters worse.
e. Choose Sports that Build Self-Esteem: While teaching teamwork and cooperation are fine, equating worth with performance, and having a coach or teammates who berate your child are not. Ask your child the simple question: Are you having fun?
f. Examine Yourself: Is your child overloaded because you are overloaded? Consider escaping pressure yourself rather than feeding it to your child. Being pushed to be the smartest, most athletic, fashionable, thin and popular kid in the class has been shown to push kids away from being happy. Perhaps examining your own view of life might help.
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