Back to School: Juggling Activities

by Carol Band

Soccer, saxophone, tumbling and tai chi - kids have so many activities to choose from. How can you keep your child active and engaged without going broke or going crazy?

juggling activities"Limit participation," Stacy DeBroff, author of The Mom Book Goes to School, advises. "Parents tend to let kids go overboard with activities or push them into classes that they're not really interested in. … Make sure that your kids have at least an hour of downtime everyday - it's also an important activity."

"My boys can pick two activities at a time," Sara Faust says. "With school and other commitments, that's plenty."

Tips for Staying Busy, Not Over-Booked:

  • Present your child with a few choices. "Do you want to take gymnastics or judo?" DeBroff recommends that children only participate in one sport each season. You want to avoid scenarios where your child has to eat meals and change uniforms in the car.

  • Try to arrange activities so your family can still sit down to dinner together at least a few times a week. Studies show that kids who eat dinner with their parents four times a week or more are more likely to be A students.

  • Don't take away favorite activities as punishment for bad grades. "Every child needs an arena for success," DeBroff says.

  • Enroll your child in activities that you all can sustain. Mastery of a sport or a skill builds confidence for life.

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