The life of a child can be quite busy. School can be demanding enough, but when you add extracurricular activities into the mix, it’s easy to pack the schedule to the point that there’s little—if any—time left. Andy Bossaller of the Lodi Huntington Learning Center reminds parents that overscheduling leads to stress and anxiety. “Parents have good intentions and want their children to have opportunities to explore passions and try new things, but it’s important to keep the big picture in mind too,” he says. “Finding balance between school and life should be the goal.” How can parents help their children do so? Here are several tips:
Embrace the art of time management. The key to finding balance in life is carving out time for everything. “We encourage our students to maintain three schedules: a master schedule, weekly schedule and daily schedule,” Bossaller explains. “The master schedule includes all classes for a semester and important dates like test and project due dates; the weekly schedule maps out regular, fixed obligations and activities like sleeping, eating, school, study time and extracurricular activities; and the daily schedule is the plan for each day—best created each night for the following day.” Time management is one of the most critical life skills and best learned early to avoid procrastination and wasted time.
Prioritize. If weeknights at your house are a chaotic rush to a variety of places and homework and family dinner consistently take a backseat, spend some time looking at what’s on your daily calendar and talking as a family about whether all of it should stay. You and your child should block out time each day for sleep, school, homework and dinner and work from there. Then, ask the hard questions: what are your child’s top few activities? Which ones offer the greatest benefits? Which cause the most stress?
Identify the time wasters. The nemesis of productivity, time wasters are lurking everywhere. “Have your child write down the things that throw him or her off course the most as well as any ideas on how to counteract or avoid such distractions,” says Bossaller. “Common pitfalls include social media, smartphones and television, but don’t forget about things like household activity and noise that might be keeping your child from making the most of his or her time.” It’s also critical that children understand that when they stick to a schedule, they’ll accomplish more—and will have more time for what they want to do.
Make time for what really matters. Nobody can sustain constant productivity with no downtime without feeling the effects. Encourage your child to embrace good habits—studying in blocks of time, taking frequent breaks and getting sufficient sleep—and make time for friends, family and exercise. Neglecting these things will cause a range of problems and may hurt your child’s academic performance and motivation over time.
School-life balance is important for a child’s well-being and happiness. “It’s so important that children learn to juggle multiple priorities and still find time for the ‘want-tos’ in life,” says Bossaller. “Parents should teach their children the importance of managing their time effectively and how to embrace good habits now so that they will be well equipped to navigate school and life at every stage.”
Date: Friday, July 28