I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure of serving as a parent-teacher helper for my children’s classroom a few times during the year. I can tell you on a personal level the academic curriculum at their school keeps our kids pretty busy.
As if school isn’t busy enough, they still have daily homework and now all the extras – piano lessons, dance lessons, martial arts, sports, and chess clubs. We all have our reasons for enrolling our children in these extracurricular activities, but if your child starts to display any of the following symptoms, it might be time to establish a rebalance with it all.
Falling behind in school – This one is straightforward. If your child starts to fall behind in school because of their extracurricular activities, it’s time to cut a few things out and refocus. Studies have proven more times than none that children need the opportunity to play and be children. As a parent, I often find myself competitive with the social upkeep by keeping my child structurally busy, but then shifting my focus back to the basics of wanting to raise a decent human being. My children are not robots and they definitely have a say, but if it starts to hinder their general academia, then chances are they’ve not had the opportunity to voice their opinion because they’ve been kept so busy!
Emotional stress – Research states that every child exhibits stress differently. Some may throw tantrums or wet their beds, some may complain more or make excuses, and some may shut down completely. If your child is doing things out of their character, it might be time to take a short break and rebalance.
When everyone is affected – According to a popular online kids’ organization database, the source of stress is often the demands we place on ourselves and our ability to meet them. What are we doing to ourselves? As a working parent who also runs the household, it’s quite cumbersome to work and then chauffeur my children to their extracurricular activities on a daily basis. It sometimes seems my shift never ends, but I’ll do it if I think it will benefit my child’s future. On the other hand, if it becomes the source of their unhappiness, then who is it all for? For a fun retrospect, I’d rather raise a happy engineer than an emotionally wrecked rocket scientist – not that rocket scientists are necessarily emotionally wrecked.
Children don’t come with an instruction manual on how to raise them, so a periodic check and balance with them can’t hurt, right?
Kim Manalansan is a freelance writer and mother of two