Checking my appointment book is part of my morning ritual. I long ago gave up trying to remember everything I need to do without actually writing it down, so my book basically maps out my whole week. But looking it over this morning, I made a horrifying realization. Sure, I am busy this week… but I’m busy chauffeuring around my 4 year old son. Apparently he’s got quite the social life!
This week alone, my golden boy has a swimming lesson, soccer practice followed by season end pizza-party plus not one, but two birthday parties. And there are his Pre-K: activities: a KidClicks computer class one day, show-and-tell another, and Friday a walking field trip to a local restaurant for donuts & apple cider to mark Veteran’s Day. Oh, and he wanted me to schedule a playdate with his bestie-whew! Take a break, kid!
I don’t ever remember being this “busy” when I was his age. Sure, I played on a softball team, went to the occasional birthday party, played with my sister and the neighborhood kids, and of course had school, but I was rarely “scheduled.”
Is it just me, or do kids today have “activity overload”? Even planning a playdate has turned into a complicated ordeal. Most of my son’s classmates have their own activities– art class, karate or dance lessons, team sports or even a Lego class (I didn’t even know this existed until this weekend and apparently it is all the rage among my son’s pals, but do you need a class to learn how to play with Legos?). I spoke to one mom who said, that the first opening she had for a playdate with my son was in mid-December. Are you serious?!?!
Am I doing my son a disservice by not scheduling every moment of his day to maximize his enjoyment and happiness? Should I be less rigid and not schedule anything for him at all and just “go with the moment?”
I’m not sure what the answer is. Right now he seems happy and content with his social schedule – busy as it is. I know how cranky I get when I’m over-loaded and over-scheduled at work. Imagine that for a 4 year old. Total kidlet meltdown is not a pretty sight! Maybe our solution for now is that he, and I, dial it back a bit, scheduling a few key activities and keeping it open enough to allow for things “happen” rather than micromanaging every minute of every day!
What do you think? How much is too much for kids?