Whether it’s after school sports, other extra-curricular activities, or holiday schedules, it’s easy to overbook children and teens. All of the things your child participates in are important. So how do you know when you’ve passed the tipping point and your child is too busy?
The following are signs that indicate a child is too busy.
1. They are having trouble falling asleep at night. Kids who are rushed from one activity to another and who don’t have any downtime will often have trouble falling asleep at night because they can’t wind down. The go-go-go adrenaline and momentum makes it very hard for kids to slow down at bedtime, relax and fall asleep.
2. They are easily upset. Kids who don’t have downtime do not have time to process their emotions. Whether consciously, or not, we all use downtime to process our feelings about the days’ experiences. This causes a build-up of emotional energy that needs an outlet. This would be similar to using a colander to strain the water from your pasta, and not cleaning it afterwards. After a few times, the strainer will get clogged and won’t work as well. Our brains work in much the same way. When kids don’t have time to process the events of their day – or their life – their emotions become clogged and things build up. This makes them more likely to throw temper tantrums, overreact to problems, cry over the little things, etc.
Jeremy G. Schneider, MFT, is a fatherhood expert, syndicated columnist and therapist specializing in parenting, involved fatherhood, building healthy modern families and overcoming depression.