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Counselor's Corner
  • Counselor's Corner
Elise Banks, School Counselor

How do we make sure we don't have our kids over-scheduled?

If you’ve ever been to my office, you know I sit in a hallway that receives a lot of traffic. I get the joy of hearing students talk about the guest reader that came to their class, the test they made a great grade on after studying for hours, and the fun plans they have for the weekend! I also hear students talk about how much is on their plate, their stress load, and how something in their day did not go as planned.

I will be the first to say how much of an advocate I am for students being well-rounded individuals. Although academics are important, the value that sports, fine arts, volunteering, and other extra-curricular activities bring to the table are irreplaceable. But how much is too much? I often receive this question when families are navigating how many “extra” activities they should add or subtract from their child’s life. Here are a few tips:

  1. Be mindful of how your child’s extra-curricular activities are impacting their school life. I’ll never forget when I played sports in middle school and high school, my coaches always reminded us, “you are a STUDENT-athlete.” They told us this before every season, because although they wanted us to be committed to our team, this was not an excuse to not perform well in the classroom. With that said, If your child is involved in so many activities, that they are struggling to complete assignments, study for exams, and give full effort to projects, then they are over-scheduled. Being involved in different stimulating activities is very important to a child’s overall wellness; however, school should still be a top priority.
  2. Be mindful of how your child’s extra-curricular activities are impacting their home life. Ideally children and teens should be getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night. Ideally families should be eating dinner together (or having family time) more times a week than not. And ideally children should have down time to... just be a kid. If their activities prevent them from having consistent down time, family time, and getting enough sleep, then they are over-scheduled. 
  3. Be mindful of how your child’s extra-curricular activities are impacting their mental health. Outside of St. Mark’s, I work with private therapy clients. A consistent theme I am hearing from my clients is “My Mom/Dad have me in all these activities, and I am tired and stressed.” With anxiety and depression increasing in our children and adolescents over the last 10 years, I am hyper-aware of how much is too much for this age group. A child’s mental health is as important as their physical health. If you have noticed a change in your child’s demeanor (anxious, elevated, depressed, moody) take a look at how many stressors are in their life. They need us, the adults in their lives, to help them navigate how to prioritize what is important. 

As you evaluate how to keep your child well-rounded but not over-committed, please know I am always here to help work with your child and family!

God Bless,

Elise N. Banks, M.S., LPC
School Counselor

  • Counselor's Corner
  • parenting
  • parenting children
  • parenting kids
  • parenting teens