As a mom, you know the potential warning signs of drug use in children: glassy eyes, increased apathy, pulling away from family and friends. But did you know those same symptoms can indicate your child is trying to accomplish too much?
Overscheduling is a common problem in our modern society—it leads to stress and anxiety for your kids, and can even cause physical issues. Fortunately, there are ways you can tell whether your child has too much on his or her plate, so you can adjust the schedule and help them get back on track.
Watch for these signs of an overscheduled lifestyle in your kids:
The little old man
If your child’s constitution is on par with a stereotypical grumpy senior citizen, it’s probably stress. Young people who complain of aches and pains, don’t sleep well, look and act tired, or are cranky and irritable likely have underlying issues that can be symptoms of overscheduling.
The busy bee
Is your child always on the go? If you can’t remember the last time you saw your kid relaxing—if they’re always practicing their passion, scribbling homework, or rushing out the door (or back in)—they aren’t getting any downtime. And that’s a fast track to burnout.
The plunging report card
If your child has been a great student throughout her academic career and is suddenly bringing home Cs and Ds, there’s a problem. This could be any number of things, but if she’s into a lot of activities, overscheduling is a likely culprit.
The falling fun factor
You know your child’s favorite things—but what if he suddenly hates everything he used to love? Sometimes pulling away from fun activities is simply growing out of a phase, but if nothing is fun for your child anymore, he might be overscheduled to the stress point.
The vanishing best friend
Your kid’s best pal used to be practically part of the family, but now you never see them around. There are no more sleepovers, no hanging out after school, no endless phone calls or texting marathons. Unless there’s been a major fight between them, the not-so-best friend might be a sign that your child no longer has time for what’s most important—and that’s a problem.
The lost sheep
For the most part, school-aged children can get along fine for awhile without direct adult supervision and instruction. If your child’s independent streak has suddenly vanished and she seems unwilling to do anything without prompting, she may be so overscheduled that it’s hard to function without a strict itinerary.
The ability to notice the signs of overscheduling is the first step to correcting this damaging problem. If your child exhibits these signs, have a talk about how much they’re scheduled to do—and what they can cut out in order to restore balance and relaxation to their lives, and yours.