MHP News

Saving Your Student from Schedule Overdrive

Between technology, activities, school and social events, our kids can pack a mean punch at their daily activities. In fact, if we aren’t careful, they can easily overwhelm themselves (and parents too) with their crazy schedules. Not only is it stressful for them, it can lead to overexertion, exhaustion and resentment for their activities, something nobody wants!

Think of it like this, as adults, we all need a break, mini-vacation or time to unwind from our lives, right? Well, kids are no different. In fact, they may be more vulnerable because they don’t know their personal limits yet. Poor school performance, eating, sleep and exercise habits can then develop, stirring up a steaming pot of “no thanks”.

So, how do we keep our kids from catapulting into craziness? Well, Family Nurse Practitioner Lisa Smith, who is a mom herself, has a few tips:

  1. Stick to a schedule: Every month or so (whatever works for your family), sit down and look at the calendar. Is it too full? Are there lots of free time gaps? Figure out what is a good balance for your family (and sanity) and add or remove as necessary. By looking at a long-term schedule, it’s easier to see when things may get too hectic before you’re running yourself ragged to every birthday party, sports practice and after-school activity.
  2. Get their input: Believe it or not, your kids may have strong feelings about what they are participating in! Whether you’re worried about physical activity or a resume building activity, make sure you and your child are on the same page. If they hate what they are doing, it will only add to their stress levels. With all of the options out there today, you can both compromise and still get those necessary items checked off your lists!
  3. Get real: Or at least realistic. Is your child wanting to do too much? It’s not uncommon for children to get excited about this new club, sport, etc., and quickly overload their plates. Instead, set some boundaries. Maybe this semester they can try one activity and then swap for another one the following semester.
  4. Free up some time: Even if your child is involved in multiple activities, it’s important to ensure downtime. Try to have one free day per week and time on the weekend for them to do what they need to refuel. Whether it’s having time for friends or spending quality time together as a family, time at home is important for mental and physical health. Keep those pesky screens to a minimum too; we all need time to let our brains shut off, even if we don’t want to admit it!

When it comes to your child’s activities outside of school, it’s important to make sure they have enough time to recharge to do what they need to most of all: Learn! Keeping them busy and enriched while also having time to be a kid is one of the most important things they can carry through the rest of their lives; that’s one skill you want to make sure they learn!

Published Oct 5, 2017

Lisa Smith, ARNP-C

Family Nurse Practitioner Lisa Smith enjoys caring for patients of all ages in a rural setting at New Sharon Medical Center. She prides herself on being a good listener and always wants her patients to feel well-equipped to continue their care at home. As a mother, Lisa understands the value of reliable information from someone you trust. When patients need advanced care, Lisa works closely with specialists on the MHP campus in Oskaloosa.

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