The new school year is a fact. Along with that come various extracurricular activities. Swimming pool, ballet, football, painting, foreign languages, martial arts, dance… The list can be huge. We want to give our children opportunities, to broaden their horizons so that they have alternatives.
But how many extracurricular activities will they have? How much will they – and you with them – be running around? The COVID-19 quarantines we’ve had have made me reconsider a few things. I’m not saying it was better that we all stayed and worked from home. However, the rhythms of our daily lives have become softer, more humane. We have had more opportunities to get closer to our children and to get to know them better; to recognize their real needs and wants; to give and receive those hugs that we “used to forget” because of all the running around.
So how about thinking a bit differently now that we are back in the “school mode”? Because there is also studying for school. And while some days studying and activities may go well together, most kids rush – and so do you – from activity to activity and by the time they get home they are extremely tired and sleepy. Then there’s no time to study let alone time for conversation, play and hugs
How about rethinking the phrases we, parents, tell them? Phrases like “rush, you don’t have any time left, grab a fruit and go to bed…you have school tomorrow and an early morning wake up”? We certainly don’t want to have them so stressed to do everything (because they do not want to stop any of the activities they’ve chosen), without a single break. We don’t want robots, we want children. And of course we don’t want to be so worried about them catching up on everything and making it to bed on time.
It’s better to think how we may help our children and ourselves in a different way. So that we do not become their “alarm clock” and they learn how to be responsible.
One way is to discuss with your child and create together a weekly schedule that includes studying, extracurricular activities and some free time. Put it up in their room or in a visible spot somewhere in the house. Talk about possible ways to carry out the program and give your child the opportunity to implement it. Observe how things are going for a couple of weeks and ask your child’s opinion as well. You are always there to help if something needs to be changed. And one last thing that we often forget: Remember that studying is not your responsibility.