Do you find that your days are endless? That each morning is a rush and then school comes only to be followed by scurrying to activities that stress you and your child out? Where is the fun? Has it disappeared? How do you know when too many outings are just too much?
Here are some tips that are tell-tale signs of too much activity
1, Instead of looking forward to an after school activity, your child complains that they just want to go home. Maybe they’re right! They’ve been cooped up in school all day with an inside recess because of the weather and they need time to just play randomly around the house. Take them seriously and consider skipping the activity that day. Next week they’ll be able to enjoy it more.
2. Are you so harried that all you feel is that you are in the car taking one child or another to a scheduled activity? Do you just want to go home and take the afternoon off? Maybe you are right as well. Maybe your exhaustion is taking you away from really being there for your kids instead of offering them a new experience. Pay attention to your instincts. Maybe an afternoon off is best for all.
3. Do you find the parents in your area are very competitive about how much their kids do? Is performance becoming more important than just plain loving your kids? Reconsider your values. Who cares what other parents do and think. Decide what’s best for you and your family. This kind of thinking pays off in the long run.
4. Do you find that your self-esteem is getting wobbly? Maybe it’s because you’re doing too much? Just hanging out and sharing conversation can be much more important than scheduled things to do. Reflect on how much time you have to listen to your kids and then reschedule to make sure your plans include lots of listening time. It’s amazing how much better your self-image can be.
Ambition, keeping up with the neighbors, performing the best are good goals when they have some balance. When they become all there is then something is awry. Stress without pleasure has taken over and no one seems light and happy anymore. Keep a close eye on stress loads. They decreased performance and productivity and a feeling of well being. Take stock of your life and your kids’ lives and make sure fun is included!
Laurie Hollman is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. This book helps you keep a balance between reasonable stress and sound parent-child relationships.