Commit to saying no to extra activities this fall to allow time for family and even for kids to get bored. Here’s why.
Ever wondered if your kids feel as over-scheduled as you do?
As my kids have gotten older, I have noticed that there is this pressure on them to be in everything. To play piano, to play soccer, to take an art class—there are multiple opportunities to add another activity to the list. I also feel the pressure, from a couple of different sources.
Peer pressure. I see other parents whose kids are involved in all kinds of things. Popular sports. Trendy clubs. Glamorous arts. When we’re given an opportunity, I don’t want my kids to be left out.
Mommy pressure. When I see other kids getting opportunities that are educational and fun and good for them, I don’t want my kids to miss out.
There’s a difference, you know, between being left out, missing out and choosing to sit out. As an adult, I should be ashamed of myself for caving in to peer pressure. But when it comes to mommy pressure, well, that’s really a noble aspiration. Like most moms, I want what’s best for my kids.
Lately, however, I’m learning that sometimes what’s best is for them to have time just to “be.” Time to be bored, time to rest, time to spend at home with their families. Children will never be all we aspire them to be if we plan out every single minute of their days with activity.
Here are three ways we can help our kids slow down.
1. Take control.
It’s very important to my husband and me that we guard our family time. Right now, my kids are at ages where I can control their schedules. It’s not as easy as they get older.
I can instill a desire within them to be with their family—to love and appreciate time together if I make sure our family time is fun and memorable. I want to create an atmosphere of reading, laughing, singing and creating together. I want them to want to be with their family.
2. Enjoy dinner together.
Most nights, we have dinner together. I know that’s hard, and there are a lot of factors to consider when you’re trying to make it happen. When kids are busy every night with one thing or another, then it is impossible for the family table to happen.
Eating together is time together. It’s conversation and connection. It’s being a family, and that time together gives kids a sense of confidence and peace. It gives them a place to belong.
3. Let them be.
Kids create, discover and use their imaginations when given downtime — in other words, when they get bored. Yes, kids being “bored” is actually good! They read, draw, write, play and dream. They need unscheduled time for discovering themselves and who they are. They need quiet so they can think, just like adults do.
This fall, as opportunities come around, I challenge you to resist.
Slow down your schedule and just enjoy being with your family. Show your kids that time together at home is important to you. Show them that family time is fun.
Telling them it’s important with words alone won’t make a difference. Back up those words with actions. Say no to extra activities so you can say yes to time with your family.
Kelly Hancock blogs about parenting and faith as well as sharing all the best deals on her money-saving blog, Faithful Provisions.