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Over scheduling Your Kids - How Much Activity is too Much?

Updated on October 21, 2011
Just because they're kids,it doesn't mean they're not subject to stress. - Dr. Anthony Magit
Just because they're kids,it doesn't mean they're not subject to stress. - Dr. Anthony Magit | Source
The period where children start taking interest in various types of activities
The period where children start taking interest in various types of activities | Source

Deciding on how often your child should participate in after school activities can be challenging for parents. Should children participate in football practice five-days per week? Or are three days a week sufficient? It’s argued that as many of the activities are enjoyable and distinctly different from studying, children will enjoy these classes. However, with that being said, too much fun can also make children ill. It's been noted that too much activities could be stressful to a child. As a consequence, the stress is likely to affect the child's general health. Attaining balance is the key. Below is an easy-to-follow guide which is designed to aid you in deciding on the right amount of activity for your child.

Kindergarten:

During kindergarten children are just beginning to interact with others and they’re starting to become accustomed to discipline. This means that a child in kindergarten must have a relaxed and easy after school life. A couple of classes per week are sufficient as a start and once the child begins to settle in, you may search for activities which are more of a challenge, such as music programs.


Grade-1

For children in the first grade, a couple of activities a week, trips to the playground and play-dates are suggested. Competitive sporting activities must be avoided as children in grade 1 are too young to be concerned about losing or winning. After a tiring day at school children need a healthy way to release built up energy, physical activities and non-competitive sports are ideal for first graders.

Grade-2:

Children in the second grade are mature enough to have an opinion on which activities they would like to participate in. Children should be encouraged to take part in activities they want – sports activities, computers or swimming. A lot of children start learning a musical instrument around the second grade. It’s important however that children of this age be allowed time to themselves where they can relax and do what they want.

Group activity teaches kids social skills, discipline and patience. Sometimes closing the textbooks and playing a game may be the best way to handle their studies.
Group activity teaches kids social skills, discipline and patience. Sometimes closing the textbooks and playing a game may be the best way to handle their studies. | Source

Grade-3:

Socializing starts to take a bigger role for third graders, which makes team sports an ideal option. Activities which aid in the development of motor skills, such as drawing, painting and so on, are ideal too. Allow the child to discover areas which interest them, but ensure that you set aside adequate time for enjoyable activities and for family.


Grade-4:

A child in the fourth grade will be able to let you know what activities they like. Fourth graders require activities which will boost confidence and help deal with stress, as this is the period when social pressures begin to build. It’s important to be aware of homework, children of this age require more time for their studies. The ability to balance schoolwork with other activities is vital.


Grade-5:

Children in the fifth grade are bursting with energy and will want to take part in almost anything. However their studies may become less of a priority to them, meaning that close attention is required. Ensure that a couple of days are kept free for family-time and activities. The fifth grade is a good time to interest children in community service.


Middle-School

Children in middle school should have their focus directed away from television onto other activities which emphasize learning. A child’s educational performance can be improved by encouraging pre-teens to join groups, such as the Scouts program, chess clubs, language clubs and so on. Generally sixteen to twenty hours per week of extra activities should be more than sufficient, but look for any signs of a burn-out.

What you choose for your children and how much time they should spend working on it is determined by the temperament of the child. Parents should closely monitor their children and base choices on the response from the child.

2011 Moira G Gallaga ©


The perfect picture of a balanced childhood, one in which our kids go to school, do a little homework and play fort, is it now a myth?
The perfect picture of a balanced childhood, one in which our kids go to school, do a little homework and play fort, is it now a myth? | Source

Over-scheduling Our Children

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    • moiragallaga profile imageAUTHOR

      Moira Garcia Gallaga 

      6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      ktrapp, thank you for sharing your views on my hub. I totally agree with you. It's likely to be both physical and mental stress that kids end up having to deal with when faced with all these activities. As for sports, I think it would be best to let the kid gravitate to one he or she seems to enjoy most.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      I have seen so much over-scheduling of kids throughout the years. I have even known of kids in two sports at the same time and seen them rushing from one sport event to the next. It seems to be way too much stress and the benefits of being in just one sport (physical activity, socializing, following rules, etc.) gets lost. I know doctors even now see overuse types of injuries in kids from doing the same physical activity repetitively.

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