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10 Signs Your Overscheduled Kid is Too Busy

If you have ever contemplated the question, “Is my kid too busy?” there is a strong chance that the answer is yes. With the current expectations and pressures of modern family life, it is all too easy to get caught up in the act of filling every moment of your child’s life with a sport, lesson, or another sort of “enrichment activity”. But how do you know when you have crossed the line?

A busy family gathers in the kitchen; two young kids sit at a table with their mother, while the dad cooks food in the background.

Is your kid too busy? 

I long for the days of riding my bike for hours on end in the neighborhood, my mother not quite sure where I was exactly and no cell phone in my pocket to be located.

Today, our kids have schedules packed with soccer practice, tutoring, band practice, and more.  

There is a strong chance that your kid is too busy but hasn’t expressed it to you outright but may be showing some telling signs. 

The best advice is to try to get in front of it before your kid experiences burnout and is no longer getting the added benefit of a few carefully selected extra-curricular activities.  

Here are 10 signs your kid is too busy: 

1 – You don’t have regular family dinners.   

If you can’t remember the last time you sat down for a family dinner, your kid may be too busy.  

Families who eat together usually foster more opportunities to talk and really know what is going on with their kids at school and within their friendship circles. 

Try to free up your schedule to eat together at least three times per week, and no cell phones at the table! (This rule applies to grown-ups too!) 

If you don’t have time for a big family dinner, at least walk inside the fast-food restaurant and sit for 15 minutes together before rushing on to the next event.

You may be surprised. Your kids may tell you more than they have in the past month! 

Related Post: A Huge List of Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas for Busy Moms

2 – Your child seems overwhelmed or easily upset

You know your child and his/her typical emotions.

If your child seems more easily upset or overwhelmed by simple tasks, there is a chance they are too busy and need to take a step back.  

We all know asking a child to clean their room can cause World War III, but if simple tasks seem daunting all of a sudden, it may be they don’t need one more item piled onto their plate.  

3 – Your child is not sleeping well

If your child is having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, it is possible they are overwhelmed by their day and can’t turn things off long enough to get the rest they need. 

As adults, we understand how life stress can cause sleep disruptions.

The same happens for our children.

Give them the opportunity to rest, which may mean cutting back on some activities to keep them from being so busy all the time. 

Related Post: How to Stay Calm When Your Child Won’t Listen

4 – Grades are dropping.

If your child’s grades are dropping, and they’ve always been a really good student, there is a chance your kid is too busy with other activities.  

Create opportunities and empty time for your child to work on their homework.

No one wants to go to school all day, followed by soccer practice, and then have to stay up until 11 PM at night to finish homework.  

Too many activities for your child may also cause them to forget to do their assignments.

A brain can only keep track of so much! 

5 – Your kid is excited when an activity is canceled.  

If your child’s extra-curricular activity is canceled and they do a jump for joy, it could be they are excited to finally take a breather.  

Children enjoy playing sports, doing new activities, and learning new skills.

However, if an activity they were once excited about no longer brings them joy, it could be your child has too much on his plate and needs a break.  

6 – They no longer spend time with her best friend. 

Your child’s best friend used to come over to hang out or play on the regular.

Now, scheduling time solely for the purpose of hanging out seems impossible.

This could be a sign your child is too busy and needs to cut back on some activities. 

Friendship is important (at least the right friends), and it is good to build that time in for kids.

It doesn’t have to be structured. Simply give them time to play.  

Related Post: The 10 Best Kid’s Board Games that Teach Social Skills

7 – Your child is wanting more time with you or seems needy

If your child is normally very independent or self-sufficient and all of a sudden appears to be needy or need more of your time, there is a chance they are feeling overwhelmed or are too busy. 

Children need their parents, sure.

However, if there is a change in behavior, chances are they need the most important people in their lives to help ground them from the chaos of their schedules! 

8 – Complaints of pain or headaches

Some children start complaining of random pains or headaches when they are feeling too overwhelmed by their schedules or are generally too busy. 

If your child is starting to have complaints of pain or headaches and has no other signs of sickness, it could be their stress levels are so high they are making themselves sick.  

Try to cut back on an activity or two and give them time to rest and recharge. 

9 – Your child wants to be home

If your child wants nothing more to be home, it may be a sign they are feeling too busy.

It is their way of saying, “Stop the insanity! I need a breather!” 

10- You are tired! 

You are spending all your time in the car, drive-thrus, or at doubleheaders on Saturday.  You are emotionally and physically tired from all the running around, and you aren’t even doing the activities! 

When we are tired as parents from all the running around, I can almost guarantee your child is feeling tired and too busy.  

Our kids are meant to be learning, making memories and preparing for adulthood.

They are not meant to be building a resume.

Let them be kids, which might mean cutting back on some activities so they can rest, process what they have learned, or simply play. 

Related Post: Create a Peaceful Home: 12 Tips for Families

Is my kid too busy? Frequently asked questions about overscheduled kids:

What Does Overscheduled Mean for Kids?

To overschedule means to plan too many events or activities. So, what is “too many”? If you or your child are constantly feeling rushed, overwhelmed, tired, cranky, or unhealthy it’s a good sign that the calendar is too full.

How Do I Stop Overscheduling Kids’ Activities?

Sit down as a family and brainstorm a list of everything that each member does during the week or month. Next, enter those activities onto the calendar so you can “see” just how busy you are.

Be sure to include things like meal time, time for rest, and weekly activities like a bike ride or family movie night.

Now, decide which activities are a priority. Anything that doesn’t make the cut needs to be canceled or postponed until more time is available.

Why Do Busy Kids Need Downtime?

For children, downtime is essential for cognitive development, emotional health, and opportunities for rest and restoration.

This is time that their bodies can grow, their brains can process all the information they have learned and they can re-set to a baseline emotional state.

Image of a family spending time together in a kitchen; text overlay says "Is your family too busy? 10 common warning signs that y'all need a break"

Common Signs that Your Child is Overscheduled

 Brooke is the author of Happy Simple Mom. She is a mom and lover of organizing, decluttering and spending time outdoors.  She writes to encourage others to simplify the clutter in their homes and lives. You can also find her on Facebook.

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