Kids Nowadays Are Way Over-Scheduled, And It’s Becoming A Problem

girls in art class
Image: iStock / Madhourse

If you’re a parent with a school-aged child, then you are probably stretched pretty thin. Not just with your own work or obligations, but with managing everything your kids have going on, too! Kids these days are BUSY. Busier than ever before, in fact. And while school and extracurricular activities are very important for their development, it can be a lot. It’s not uncommon for a kid to leave for school in the morning and not return home until dinnertime or later! It requires a lot of cooperation from the entire family, and it can be so hard to manage. In fact, these packed schedules can actually have a negative impact. Over-scheduled kids do so much, but they also miss out on so much. And these kiddos are tired, parents. We know you are, too!

Over-scheduled kids are go, go, go all the time. Which leaves very little time for anything else!

First, they have school. The average American school day is about seven hours long. A lot of kids with working parents are in after-school care as well. Then, there’s the homework issue. Despite evidence that homework isn’t as beneficial as we used to believe, plenty of teachers still assign it. In fact, in 2015 CNN reported that not only were kids being assigned homework, they were getting THREE TIMES as much homework as the recommended amount. So let’s factor in a couple of hours for homework for the average student, at least.

In addition to the rigors and responsibilities of school, lots of kids participate in at least one activity outside of school. In 2014, The US Census Bureau reported that 57% of kids between the ages of 6-17 participated in at least one activity, but lots and lots of kids are involved in two or more extracurricular activities. So let’s add on, say, another two hours of activities. For one average day, that means kids are busy for 11 hours. That’s bonkers! And it’s not just an American issue. Researchers from Boomerang EMEA conducted an international study over the summer. They found that almost 50% of kids in seven countries around the world had 4-7 hours of social and extracurricular activities in their weekly schedule.

So with all the school and homework and extracurricular activities, what about family and rest time? Well, that’s a big part of the problem.

School is important. So is homework (sort of)! And we are firm believers in kids participating in at least one extracurricular activity. But over-scheduled kids are tired, and miss out on quality family time. Pediatrician Dr. Deb Lonzer, MD says, “Kids whose time is overly organized don’t have time to be kids, and their family doesn’t have time to be a family. They typically don’t eat well, sleep well, or make friends properly.”

Getting your kids involved in things they love is important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of their well-being and your family.

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