Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Overscheduled this time of year?

Are you getting stressed yet? School has started --all the sporting events and activities, plus work is busy this time of year and all the new fall shows are out! I know I am getting a little overwhelmed!

But some kids thrive when they are over scheduled and don't have much down time. At least, that's the conclusion of a new study. The Washington takes a look at the study:

A new wave of research into the lives of middle-class children bucks conventional wisdom and concludes they are not the over scheduled, frazzled generation that many believe them to be. It might be only that their parents are on overload, one researcher suggests.

Two studies based on data about how children spend their days show that only a minority are heavily scheduled and that organized activities are linked to positive outcomes in school, emotional development, family life and behavior. The children most at risk have no activities at all, the studies showed.

That research is augmented by several studies that, together, provide a scientific perspective on childhood activities at a time when they have become a way of life and a cause for concern among educators and psychologists. Until recently, over scheduling as a phenomenon has not been widely explored in data-based studies, researchers say.

Many middle-class parents say they feel pressure to give their sons and daughters every opportunity -- violin, soccer, ballet, Scouts -- and then worry that their children are overextended to the point of harm. "I found the opposite of what I expected," said Sandra L. Hofferth, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland at College Park and lead author of a research paper released this year that will be part of a book.

Hofferth said she had "started out with a pretty solid belief that lots and lots of activities are bad for children." But she said the data showed otherwise: A higher level of activity was not linked to such stress symptoms as depression, anxiety, alienation and fearfulness.
"We just don't find that the children who are more active are more stressed," she said.
Parental stress, on the other hand, might be another matter. "One thing I do think is that parents are having trouble with it, and they're the ones who are having a hard time trying to figure out how to manage children's lives as well as their own," Hofferth said.

Okay, so I am bummed about this. I do get my son involved in activities, but not as many as he wants. He does have down time and I was hoping it was a good balance. This study puts too much pressure on parents in my opinion! I can't imagine having four kids and trying to have all of them involved in different activities. I know a lot of people do it, I just don't know how. Yikes!

I did have someone at work ask me why my son wasn't in t-ball this summer. They jokingly said, he's gonna be behind. He was only 4-years-old!

Are you and your kids overscheduled right now?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Jenny said...

We are just getting into this 'phase' as my oldest is 4. On one hand, I think it is crazy to have a 4 or 5 year old in tons of activities. She already goes to preschool everyday and is involved in gymnastics. Could we add more? Probably ... but do I think it is best ... not necessary. I agree that the article just adds the pressure but I still feel like there needs to be a balance.

Also, parental stress because of all these activities DOES impact the whole family.

I feel like as a working mom (who works from home so I have two full time jobs), I try my best but I can only do so much. Sometimes these articles or 'studies' just make you feel like you never do enough.

Ok .. off my soap box!! lol said...

I am right there with you Jenny!

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