We wonder why kids start to fight back when we have signed them up for all of the things that they want to do.
The routine usually goes something like this (Mother) "Come on, it is time to go to baseball.", (child) "I don't want to go, I told Jamie I would go to his house.", (Mother) "You wanted to play baseball and now the team is counting on you to be there, so get your things together, you are going!"
Does that sound familiar?
The kids want to join hockey, soccer, baseball and scouts, which is a great idea. As good parents, we want to make sure that our children are doing the things that they love to do, are occupied and happy.
They also include in their schedule of things to do; the 'want' to have time to play with their friends in the neighborhood, go to grandmas and watch their favorite shows and, by the way, as a responsible parent, we also have to schedule time for homework!
Kids are so used to parents and schools supplying this to entertain them that they lose the chance to explore and create. They don't know how to make something out of nothing, create new games to play or keep themselves busy unless it is supplied for them.
In this day of computers, there is always the internet to supply this; they are even taught how to do this at school at a very young age.
Now, I am not against kids learning the computer, it is part of our future and lifestyle. However, playing games and going on chat lines for hours and hours, doesn't give them a chance to experience the real world. They lose, one on one networking with other people, including their families.
To some degree, all of this activity helps the parent too. Now the kids won't get bored, we don't have to listen to kids fighting and arguing and our homes don't get as messy.
After a long day of work, we can sit and have a few peaceful moments! Therefore, we do have our own selfish reasons for agreeing to all of the outside influences.
How do you limit activities in the kids' lives?
You make them trade!
Set a limit of outside activities that they can do. If you want to add this, you have to give up that. HOWEVER, if you join a team, there isn't any changing your mind after the third game or meeting, you stick it out until it is over.
Let me explain it this way; if you are assigned a job at work, that you do not like or want to do, do you quit your job and look for a new one? Of course not! There are things in this world that we have to learn to do and take responsibility for.
I know your first thought is-but they are JUST KIDS!
Yes, you are right, but they are also more advanced in their thinking and conception of things than we were at their age. If they can get by with something, they will. If they can wiggle out of something, they will etc. It teaches them to THINK of the consequences of their actions and setting their priorities.
What are the signs of burn out in children?
1. They dread going and this was their idea!
2. They tend to blame others, the coach, other kids etc. that these people don't like them, are against them or
get all of the attention.
3. They are irritable and argumentative.
4. Some are always tired or fatigued.
5. They may show a depressed attitude or personality.
6. Some times they withdraw from everything including other activities.
7. A child may refuse to talk about the problem or why they don't want to go.
Activity 'overload' can take its toll on parents too!
Parents become taxicabs for children, spend excess times at games and events, supply treats for the gang and help out when necessary. Instead of taking a break, we end up heaping more into our busy schedules, which causes us undo stress and anxiety.
Just as adults start to feel overwhelmed, irritable and overextended in our lives, kids get burned out too.
Instead of supplying something to do for our kids, do as our parents did.
Open the door and say, "Go outside and find something to do".
Remember, we found tree's to climb (and we did not die from it), games to play, exerted energy, used our imaginations and our parents did not see us for hours. We were healthier, got a good nights sleep and plenty of fresh air-and by the way-we were happier too!
Jan Hayner offers tips on ways to organize your home, business and life. Get her new book, "Why I Never Succeed at Getting Organized" and her free checklists with organizing and cleaning tips and hints.