Too many structured activities may be robbing children of the ability to develop their creative minds and depriving them of their most important resource: you.
If you say yes to too many enrichment opportunities, the whole family will pay the price. Try cutting back on one activity per week per child and you'll be amazed at the difference. To determine what to keep and what to eliminate, consult the experts: your children. Ask them to write down three things they really want from you. You'll be surprised when they ask for more time alone with you.
Make Family a Priority.
Children are with us for a short time before they start their own lives. We ought to enjoy the brief time we have with them. If you start "being unproductive" with your kids, take a walk, play a board game, watch a movie, talk about anything. It says, 'I'm interested in you,' and that's what kids really want the most.
Leave Empty Spaces on Your Calendar.
Parents worry about kids' boredom, so they schedule their lives to keep them busy. But empty hours teach children how to create their own happiness—an important skill that everyone should develop. Unscheduled time encourages children to create, imagine, and see new possibilities.
When it comes to your family, you are the expert. It's hard not to get caught up in the frenzy of "hyper-parenting" — scheduling your children for every activity you think they need. Remember, it's not our job to craft a life for our children, it's our job to provide for them, support them, and trust that they'll make the right decision.
More Ways to Help Your Kids
Published on September 16, 2002