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Are kids too over scheduled these days?

Many kids are involved in sports, 2 or 3 at a time. Dance, music, etc. Most of the family dinners are in the car on the way to another sport/activity. Between homework and school, there isn't enough time to communicate. Parents don't have time for each other. kids feel as though their parents aren't there and parent's feel they aren't being appreciated. Everyone is are stressed. Anxiety is heightened. Teens are using drugs and alcohol to cope instead of just for fun.

Do you think it is the schedules or something else?


Asked by ggsmom333 at 7:57 PM on Apr. 3, 2013 in General Parenting

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This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • Maybe a way to express what I'm trying to indicate is that what drives the scheduling & busy-ness may be the important factor. Is it driven by a felt need for those things---for kids to have certain opportunities or to "do" certain things in order to be healthy/successful, or in order for the parents to be doing "a good job"?

    I think there's a healthy way to proceed & a not-so healthy way. I think it's possible to feel over-extended & too busy and still be fundamentally healthy, while someone else with the same (or even fewer) commitments might be driven emotionally in a way that promotes an unhealthy dynamic & family disconnect. I think we miss something when we consider "overscheduling" to BE the problem, itself.

    I do think that undercutting young children's unstructured time & diminishing their opportunities for free play can create serious problems for them & compromise their neurological development.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:47 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • Some are, some aren't. The "Tiger Moms" that have their kids in 5 different activities every day over schedule their kids. I think a few different activities throughout the week are acceptable.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 8:02 PM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • I think it depends on the families and how they cope with the schedule. My son does sports but it doesn't interfere with homework or our time. It is only the two of us though so I guess that makes a difference.

    My parents had 4 kids and I remember hating that they never made it to my games but were at my younger brothers. I still got time with them, but I missed out on them watching me play and I hated that. I didn't feel extra stress or anxiety from it, nor did I turn to drugs and alcohol. I ended up joining their softball team when I was in highschool and that worked well for all of us.

    Answer by kmath at 8:01 PM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • We do a lot of sports. I think it brings the family together. We all try to make it to everyone's game if possible, but we do split up a lot, one goes to one game, one to another. We are all involved with the other families. The parents cheer together. It's great to be a part of things. This spring my daughter is doing softball and basketball. My son is doing 2 baseballs teams and hockey. My oldest does a hockey team, but it's not time consuming. It gives them such a feeling of accomplishment. I do think some people go too far though. There are girls on both of my daughter's team who also do soccer and dance. I really don't know how they do it.

    Answer by mompam at 8:42 PM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • As with anything there needs to be a balance. So while some kids are too over scheduled it is a result of the parenting and cannot be applied to a "general" setting..

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 8:51 PM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • No because we played several sports, language classes, boy scouts and so on in the eighties same tactic different year.

    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 8:00 PM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • I think as long as the family unit and marriage don't suffer..the more the merrier. However, that is not the case with most. Sometimes the marriage suffers because they're not spending enough quality time together. Whether it be from over scheduling or not. I just see more divorce, cheating or marriages where they're just together for the kids. It is sad.

    Comment by ggsmom333 (original poster) at 9:08 PM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • Ithink it depends on the family. My daughter is a bit young for a lot of scheduled activities, I think, and I like her to have a lot of unstructured "kid time." But my sister had her preschoolers in sports, dance, tumbling, acting classes, etc, and it seemed to work for them. I don't want her telling me how to raise my child, so I won't presume to tell her how to raise hers, no matter what I might think to myself.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:22 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • I do think in general that overscheduling is a problem. I think multiple aspects are problematic, not just the impact on families. Developmentally speaking, unstructured time for free play supports the neurological development of executive function. Organized sports, gymnastics/ballet classes, etc. don't fill that need AND take away time for the type of unstructured play that DOES meet the need.

    But I don't know that it is overscheduling specifically that's the cause of marital difficulties, family disconnect, communication breakdown & suffering. The tendency to overschedule may be more of a symptom. I think anxiety-fueled living is a big problem & overscheduling is one result of anxiety-fueled parenting. So is disconnect.

    I think it's possible to be committed pretty broadly to activities/pursuits--to feel & be busy and even stressed!--while still managing not to suffer "drivenness," family disconnect & breakdown.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:29 AM on Apr. 4, 2013