Checking my appointment book is part of my morning ritual. I long ago gave up trying to remember everything I need to do without actually writing it down and as much as I love technology, I love putting pen to paper and seeing everything written out in front of me, so my book basically maps out my whole week.
But looking it over this morning, I made a horrifying realization. Sure, my book is filled with appointments and it looks pretty busy… but it’s all about me activities for my 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter and chauffeuring them around. Apparently, my kids have quite the social life!
This week alone, my boy has his karate belt test, a visit to a petting zoo plus but a birthday party. This is on top of his weekly kindergarten activities: computer class one day, reading and math tutoring another and his “moving up” to 1st grade ceremony (complete with cap and gown!). Oh, and he wanted me to schedule a playdate with his bestie –whew. Take a break, kid.
My daughter is no better. She’s in pre-school and she’s got has gymnastics, a yoga class, a day of show and tell, her weekly trip to the library and a crafting date. At this rate, I’d be lucky if she can pencil me in for a hug and kiss at bedtime.
I don’t ever remember being this busy when I was my kidlets age. Sure, I played on a softball team, went to the occasional birthday party, played with my sister and the neighborhood kids, and of course had school, but I was rarely scheduled.
Is it just me, or do kids today have activity overload? Even planning a playdate has turned into a complicated ordeal, like planning an important political summit. Most of my son’s classmates have their own activities– art class, karate or dance lessons, team sports or even a LEGO class (I didn’t even know this existed until this weekend and apparently it is all the rage among my son’s pals, but do you need a class to learn how to play with LEGOs?). I spoke to one mom last week who said, that the first opening she had for a playdate with my son was in mid-August. Are you serious?!
Am I doing my kids a disservice by scheduling every moment of their day in trying to maximize their enjoyment and happiness? Should I be less rigid and not schedule anything for them at all and just go with the moment?
I’m not sure what the answer is. Right now they both seem happy and content with their social schedule – busy as it is. I know how cranky I get when I’m over-loaded and over-scheduled at work. Imagine that for two kids under the age of six. Total kid meltdown is not a pretty sight. Maybe our solution for now is that for the summer at least, I dial it back a bit, scheduling only one or two key activities a week and keeping it open enough to allow for things happen rather than micromanaging every minute of every day.
What do you think? How much is too much for kids?
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