How to Schedule Some Unscheduled Time In Your Child’s Day

Families are busier than ever, and that includes our children. Between a full school schedule during the day and all the extracurricular activities after school, when does your child have time for some down time? It’s important that children have interests outside of school, but how much is too much?

Having a busy life is great, but the potential for over-scheduling is a real concern. You lead a very busy life yourself with work, family, and household chores. Keeping your children busy may seem like the best thing to do, but maybe it can be too much of a good thing. You need relaxation time, and so do your children.

Over-Scheduling and Stress

Participating in tons of activities is fun, but it can also be stressful. And remember, homework, dinnertime, and fun with the family are all important, as well. If everyone is running in different directions, there won’t be any downtime. How to Handle StressAnd, when there isn’t any downtime, stress starts to bubble up and boil over. Parents and kids both feel stress. When children are asked to be on the go 24/7, they feel exhausted and stressed. This may even cause your kids to lose the motivation they once had for the activities they love.

Busy Family Schedules

On an average night, your family may not get home until well after 5 or 6 o’clock. Then you run around getting dinner ready and the kids are headed off to do their homework. By the time you’re finished with dinner, you barely have time to relax before going to bed. Then, the alarm goes off and you are up and at it again. This crazy schedule, repeated day after day, is hard on you, and it’s certainly hard on your children.

Whether your children go to public school, private school, or are home schooled, they are busy with their schoolwork and activities and you’re busy with your work, week in and week out. But the weekend is coming, so you will all relax then, right? Wrong. The weekend produces more chores and errands. Your children may even have more games and more activities to attend. You find yourself running all weekend just like you did all week. When is your downtime going to happen? From the looks of it, not any time soon.

Scheduling Slow Down Time

What Is A DadYou’re great at scheduling all your activities, so why not schedule in a bit of slow time for you and your kids, as well? You need time to clear your head and relax, and so does the rest of your family. Just because kids have all the energy in the world doesn’t mean they don’t need to slow down and relax. That high energy can fool parents into thinking their kids are always ready to go. It’s your job to give your child some downtime to relax, even when it doesn’t appear they need it.

It’s great to let your children enjoy extra-curricular activities throughout the year, but the key is to limit overlapping activities during each season. For example, your child can learn:
• karate in the summer
• soccer in the spring
• and football in the fall

There are so many good activities from which to choose. The key is to choose not just what’s good, but what’s best for your family. This way your child stays active all year without the stress of trying to do everything all at once.

Scatter a few sports events and some camping trips or weekend excursions with the family carefully throughout the year, but for every activity make sure you schedule some good downtime in between. Your child needs unscheduled time, too – time to pick wildflowers, build a snowman, listen to music, doodle, play games, play the piano or just dream, piano-78492_640and you also need unscheduled time together as a family.

Whether your scheduled downtime includes a movie or game night or a picnic in the park, what’s important is that you and your children learn it’s not only okay to relax, it’s part of growing a healthy and happy family life!

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  1. 1

    Well said! We’ve recently managed to let go of a couple of extra-curricular activities (my daughter wants to do EVERYTHING!). We are REALLY enjoying the extra unscheduled time, especially now the nights are drawing in and we can get together and play games or just cosy up reading.

    • 2

      Lucinda, I know what you mean. There are so many good activities available.
      The key is choosing what’s BEST (not just good) for your family.
      Thanks for visiting Educating Today.

  2. 3

    Great post and I agree. I was a super over-scheduled kid and teenager that turned into a workaholic as an adult. I did not know how to have fun! I was always on the go. I’ve since figured out how to move out of that and we shifted our family too. We schedule in down time that is just as important as activities. If it is on the calendar then nothing can get put over it.

    I have a number of friends that have their kids in everything possible and tell me that our son will not get that benefit. I’m of a different belief. I don’t see value in doing homework in the car and eating out of fast food containers. He is involved in activities, but I recognize that he is an extroverted introvert that NEEDs the down time to recharge. When he gets his recharge time he is a much happier person.

    • 4

      Stephanie, there’s nothing like first hand experience in knowing how to deal with a situation, and it sounds like you totally
      understand the dilemma of over-scheduling events for your yourself as well as your family. It’s great that you have taken
      the time to understand your son’s temperament and can choose the ‘best’ activities for your family situation. Thank you for your comment.

  3. 5

    Hi again Susan. Boy, let me tell you that the stress doesn’t stop when the children are grown up. It just gets more…lol. The best thing is to teach them relaxation and meditation techniques I think. That’s what has helped my children the most. 🙂

    • 6

      You’re right, Veronica. Every age, from childhood through adults, deals with stress and
      most of the time, we create it ourselves. Some things that can help relieve stress for us and our children
      are looking for ways to serve others, participate in some physical activities every day and spending wonderful down-time
      with our families.

  4. 7

    Gosh this is SO important. People do not realize how stressful overwhelming schedules can be for kids. We always try to have at least one day a week where we just hang out at the ranch. “doing nothing” there usually involves some great physical exercise – chopping wood, chasing chickens, exploring the woods checking for deer signs, etc. The best unscheduled time for these active boys!

  5. 8

    Thank you for this reminder! Such a wonderful article and so important, especially during these busy holidays. Thank you for linking on up our facebook page for Share Wednesdays. Tweeted!

    • 9

      I appreciate you spreading the message of “too much busy-ness.” Many times we over schedule our families, and we need to be especially alert to this during the holiday season.

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