Therapy Tips: Balancing Extracurricular Activities

As a parent, signing your children up for as many activities as they can fit in their schedule has become expected in our society. Between their interests, your interests for them, and academic expectations, their time fills up quickly!

Nevertheless, being involved in too many activities can lead to anxiety and stress, which is why managing your child’s involvement in extracurriculars requires balance. Here are some tips to help your child balance their extracurricular activities, while also protecting their mental health:

Prioritize ActivitiesHelp your child prioritize their extracurricular activities. This can help them focus on the activities that they are most passionate about and avoid becoming overwhelmed. Make a list of three agreed upon activities and release the rest. Is three too much? Try two!
Create a ScheduleWork with your child to create a schedule that includes time for homework, activities, and free time. Remember, free time is important for kids!  This can help them learn to manage their time effectively and avoid overcommitting. While the purpose of this is to implement structure, free time implemented into this schedule is critical to their mental health and learning.
Set Realistic ExpectationsBe realistic about the time and energy required for each activity. Does the time required create unrealistic expectations? Encourage your child to be honest about how much they can handle, and advocate for their time when they don’t know how.
Encourage BreaksWithout rest, burnout is inevitable. And with children, taking time to rest is pivotal to how they prioritize their mental health in the future. Encourage your child to take breaks and prioritize self-care. If they need to take a day off from practice, that’s okay! Consistently check in with your child and prioritize breaks when needed.
Be FlexibleFinally, be flexible and open to adjusting your child’s schedule as needed. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes unexpected events may require a shift in priorities. Flexibility is extremely important in supporting your child’s mental health.

By helping your child prioritize their activities, create a schedule, and practice good time management, you can help them balance their extracurricular activities and reduce stress. With these tools, extracurriculars go from being an added stress to a part of the day your child will look forward to!

Extracurricular activities are more than just filling the calendar but an opportunity for your child to connect with themselves, their family and their community. Connect with us at Decade2Connect for more parental support and tips!

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