Extracurricular Activities: How Much is Too Much?


Rush, rush, rush. No matter how well organized, there’s always that last minute morning scurry as you check that everyone has their lunch bag and homework signed and then hustle your kids out of the door.
Then there’s pick-up. Some days you bring a snack in the car so they can eat on the way to gymnastics or karate. Other days you plan an early dinner so that they don’t have to swim on a full stomach. Some evenings you’re all too tired to persevere through homework assignments. Even weekends, best for catching up and taking a breath from a hectic schedule, are often filled with extracurricular activities for one or more of your children.

Ideally, my recommendation is for parents to explore as much as time and money will allow before their child goes into grade one since that is when both child and parent may have more free time. After that, it’s best to refine the choices according to your child’s interest and aptitude. I advise parents not to enroll their children in more than two extracurricular activities per week. When choosing activities, you may ask your child to choose one of the two. The second choice may be something that you are inclined towards—an essential life skill such as swimming, for example.

Children, like adults, can feel overwhelmed from always being on the run. By occupying our children every waking moment, we don’t teach them the value of down time and enjoying their own company during quiet moments.

Next calendar year, think about what you want for your child, for yourself and for your family. Instead of piano or dance being that extracurricular activity, make family night the activity instead. Having some time to relax and connect with each other can make all the difference.


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