At this morning’s book club meeting, we discussed the over-scheduled lives of our children. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am attempting to bring downtime back in my own house. It has been challenging, though, since as we sit down to relax, I notice a bookshelf that needs organizing, holiday cards that need stamps, dishes that need cleaning, and maybe even a sock drawer that needs cleaning out. What I have found is that when I have a few spare moments, rather than taking those moments to breathe and reset, I fill it with chores. The result is a check off my to-do list (one that was not a priority in the first place, in fact, it might not even have made it onto a to-do list!), somebody running late, and a harried me.
Taking a step back and observing as an outsider, what are my children seeing? Life…as a constant merry-go-round of activity and stress. As hard as it is for me to admit, there are fewer moments of laughter and simply enjoying life. Living life, but not living it.
Laughter should be the rule, not the exception.
Don’t get me wrong – it is important to expose our children to a variety of activities, and to challenge them and encourage them when they might feel like quitting. Stress, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Stress keeps us moving forward and teaches us perseverance. It keeps our brains active. However, too much stress is a bad thing. Stress in moderation…?
There is a very fine line between enriching and over-scheduling. We are all searching for that line, which is not static, nor consistent. There is no right answer, as each child, each activity, each family dynamic is unique. My advice is to make sure there is a balance of activity and downtime. This advice is not only for your children, but also for you!