Kids and over-scheduling

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Now that school is back in session, kids may be participating in all kinds of activities, in addition to keeping up with the demands of schoolwork. So, how much is too much?

Dr. Shannon Cohen from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to talk more about over-scheduling and what signs to look for if your child appears too busy.

Every child is different, but common signs in a child when overwhelmed with activities or time-management are:

  1. Feel tired, anxious, or depressed
  2. Complain of headaches and stomachaches may be due to stress, missed meals, or lack of sleep
  3. Fall behind on their schoolwork
    Kids who have too much to do often have to stay up late to get homework or chores done- leading to trouble with focus, memory and ability to problem solve – causing grades to drop
  4. Argue more with family and friends
    kids don’t have as much time to spend with friends when they are participating in lots of activities and they may be more irritable around family

Parents can take some steps to manage their children’s time properly, such as:

  • Agree on ground rules ahead of time – for example, plan on kids playing one sport per season or limit activities to two afternoons or evenings during the school week.
  • Know how much time is required Does your child realize soccer practice is twice a week, right after school, until dinnertime? Will homework suffer? Have this conversation.
  • Keep a calendar to stay organized Display it in a prominent spot.
  • Be flexible It’s ok for your child to miss one or two practices/lessons to wind down or enjoy family time.

Also, maintain clarity in decision-making with your child.

Know when to say no. School should come first – if grades are suffering something may need to be dropped.

Teach children to prioritize which activities are most important to them and only allow them to add another activity if willing to drop something else.

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