Can We Please Stop Over-Scheduling Our Children?

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. She’s a mom of two young kids, just as I am. We were talking about the various activities our kids are into these days when she mentioned that she wanted to sign her son up for a sport.

“But when would I find the time?” she lamented. She and her husband both work full time and have long commutes to deal with. Between work, school, day care, church, and just everyday life, she is finding it difficult to find the margin to enroll her son in a sport.

I tried to reassure her that it wasn’t necessary that he play a sport. After all, he’s still young. But she replied with, “Isn’t it good for them? To be well-rounded or something?!”

My friend is feeling the pressure to make sure her kids are well-rounded, well-adjusted, and entertained so they stay out of trouble and grow up to be awesome human beings. Who can blame her? I think we all feel that pressure. But I can’t help but think that maybe we should all just chill out a little bit.

Maybe it’s my personality, but I have never liked being too busy. I don’t like feeling overwhelmed with various activities and filling up each time slot in my planner. I need time to decompress. I like to have time at home with my family and no pressure to get anywhere.

I know other families are constantly on the go, and maybe they thrive on the excitement. They go from baseball practice to swim meets to music lessons to gymnastics. And round and round they go. The more kids, the more activities there are to get to. I find it exhausting.

I have so many questions. When did our children’s social calendars become so booming? Why are their schedules so jam-packed? When do they eat dinner? Or do homework? When do they relax and enjoy just being at home?

I know they say sports are good for kids. There are benefits to learning an instrument or developing artistic skills. None of these activities are bad. I’m not opposed to enrolling my own children in any of these programs. I want my kids to find something they’re passionate about and go for it. But I also know we have time. Right now my kids are 5 and 4. I think they will be okay if I don’t enroll them in every sports team available to them right now. There will be time as they get older and develop their own interests. When that time comes I would like to encourage them to choose one or two activities to focus their energy on. Hopefully this will eliminate some of the running around, though we will have to wait and see how it works out.

And that’s the other thing, I really don’t want to be a taxi running my kids from place to place. I want to be able to enjoy quiet (or not so quiet) family time at home. The day will soon come when they will be running off to their own various activities, I want to enjoy them all to myself while I still can.

Life is already incredibly full at this stage. I want to simplify as much as possible, and that means saying no to jam-packed schedules.