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Gulf Today Report
For children, extracurricular activities are very important as they give them the chance to interact with their peers outside of the class. Not only that, it builds confidence in kids, teaches them important life sessions, develop their skills and build up on their experiences. In short, it helps them become well-rounded adults.
However, when extracurriculars leave little or no time for kids to just be kids, it can result in a burnout. Children, like all of us, need time to do something other than work, time to think, and time to just hang out and do nothing.
The fallout from non-stop activities goes well beyond exhaustion. Overbooking can lead to anxiety, depression, a nagging feeling of never quite being good enough, and a complete rejection of any and all activities.
Perhaps worst of all, experts are finding that the more time children spend doing structured activities, the less they’re able to think creatively and imaginatively. In other words, too much structure can lead to rigid thinking.
Look out for these signs that your children could be in danger of burning out.
Occasional minor headaches are normal and shouldn’t cause alarm. But if they’re stronger than normal, last a long time, or happen a lot, it’s possible that the child isn’t getting enough sleep or that he’s feeling too much pressure to perform — either from you, his coaches, or his peers.
Children have been using stomach aches as a way to get out of doing things since chores were invented. But if they’re real, stomach aches could be a symptom of stress or anxiety. And even if they’re not real, they could be your child’s way of saying that he needs a break.
Don’t chalk up irritability or short temper to “being a teen” or having an “off day.” Overreacting and snapping at people for no reason is another subconscious way of saying, “I need a break.”
Most children struggle with their grades at some point, but while school problems can be a sign that a child doesn’t understand the material, it’s also possible that he’s so tired that he can’t think straight.
The answer to the over scheduling problem is simple: Stop it. Go over your children’s schedules and figure out which activities are most important to them (not to you). Then, together with them, look for ways to free up some time. And be careful that you don’t turn around and fill up those “empty” hours with new activities. Instead, unplug, unwind, and do nothing.
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