My 5 year-old daughter attends a wonderful Montessori school Monday-Friday from 8:15 am to 3pm. She is also taking Suzuki violin which requires a minimum of 10 minutes (ideally 25-30 minutes) of practice a day. Then on Mondays she has yoga at school from 3-3:45pm. Tuesdays is Suzuki violin lesson from 3:30-4pm. Saturdays is creative movement dance class from 10:15-11am. Sundays we have church/Sunday school from 10-11am.
On top of the above regular schedule, there are two seasonal activities, Wednesday evening from 6-6:45pm is choir & music at church and then Sundays (from Oct-Dec) from 4:30-6pm is her weekly rehearsal for The Children’s Nutcracker.
Of course, the next layer is the periodic/random events, parties, playdates, family activities, etc.
So, based on the above, do you think she’s “over scheduled?” Honestly, for the typical healthy and energy filled 5 year-old I would say No. Personally, I believe having a child involved in activities that he/she enjoys is very fruitful. It (1) nourishes their interests (2) sharpens their social skills (3) developes hobbies, possibly for life (4) provides opportunities to build friendships and (5) some would say keeps them active/busy and out of trouble/boredom.
However, unfortunately my 5 year-old has asthma and allergies and her immune system just doesn’t seem to be as strong as the average kid. When a cold/cough/virus or anything hits her…it usually take her 2-3 times the amount of time to get over it than the average healthy kid :-( Once she gets hit with a cough, cold, strep, etc. it is almost sure to be followed with her asthma kicking in. It’s quite sad as she truly enjoys all the activities above – no “tiger parent” here forcing her to perform!
So, we (and she) get sad when she has to miss out on some events/activities…but these are the cards we were dealt and are evaluating if a set class/activity needs to be dropped off her schedule…
What kind of schedule do you have for your kids? I’d love to hear about it and your experience/thoughts…please leave a comment.
FYI – I found the article ‘Overscheduled Kids: How Too Many Activities Affect Moms And Dads’ from HuffingtonPost.Com to be a good read and ‘Family Happiness and the Overbooked Child’ from TheNewYorkTimes.Com provides another similar point of view. Time Magazine’s 2007 article ‘The Overscheduled Child Myth’ provides a different point of view along with some statistics related to juvenile pregnancy, violence and crime.