Children and Extracurricular Activities
An emotionally stable core comes from a stable family life, Rabbi Shmuley says. When extracurricular activities begin to encroach on family time, they disrupt the normal rhythm of a family. Some consequences include children who are overscheduled, parents that become more like chauffeurs, lack of family dinners and children that don't know how to just be themselves.
To balance your children's schedule, Rabbi Shmuley says:
- Don't pick your child's extracurricular activities without her input. Rabbi Shmuley says to base your decision on something your child is passionate about or talented in.
- Cut down and simplify your child's activities. "It's a major warning sign if you depend on a color-coded calendar system to know where your kids are," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Stop pressuring yourself as a parent. Your child doesn't need to participate in dozens of activities. It's not quantity, it's quality, Rabbi Shmuley says. One or two activities he really loves is better than shuffling him around to five he doesn't really care about, Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Limit the amount of time they spend on activities. Rabbi Shmuley suggests a child should have no more than an hour to an hour and a half of after school activities.
"The belief that we have to overschedule our kids with extracurricular activities is all born of the American feeling of an inner emptiness. Activities can be enriching, but too many can foster insecurity and emotional instability. Kids should never have so many activities that they disrupt the family or turn Mom and Dad into glorified chauffeurs."