Overscheduled? Let kids just be kids.

This ad shows that overscheduling isn't all it's cracked up to be — or even needed. Kids need downtime more than they need, or even want, to be busy every minute of the day.

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  • Do you find yourself racing around with your kids from soccer to dance to swimming lessons, and then rushing home for piano before you have to make dinner? It may be time to re-evaluate why you're doing all these activities, and if they are really enjoyable or necessary.

  • This Mott's ad depicts a mom, Elle, with two kids who suddenly feels inadequate after a friend mentions they're doing tennis because there was space between two other activities. Feeling pressured, she gets her tots involved in dance, yoga, learning another language, swimming and karate.

  • Downtime consists of scheduling a play date several weeks away. "We do this because our kids love it," Elle says. But her friend interrupts and says, "...it's not the activities they love; it's the Mott's applesauce you give them on the way."

  • Granted, this is a commercial, but she has a point. Kids don't need to be scheduled all day every day to be happy. Kids simply want to have fun and eat snacks!

  • To illustrate the pseudo-activity-excitement, Elle invites her daughter to some "math enrichment" while holding the applesauce. Her daughter excitedly agrees.

  • Relieved at this revelation, she drops the activities. "That's a relief. New activity: being a kid."

  • While being a literal "soccer mom" to five of my kids — yes, it was completely insane, and no I wouldn't want to do it again — I noticed most of my kids were more interested in the after-game snacks than they were in actually playing soccer.

  • I'm not suggesting dropping all activities, but possibly simplifying them a little. If your day is rushed and full of "go, go, go!" you may be an overscheduled family. Decide what is really necessary and let each child pick one activity that's important to them.

  • Kids need time to just relax and be kids. They need to play in the backyard, build forts, play hide-and-seek, draw with sidewalk chalk, dig in the dirt and play make-believe. Their imaginations need time to grow. They need to be bored once in a while.

  • Here are a couple of articles that make some great points about sports — which can be likened to other activities — and on having a family that is too busy.

  • "Play or pressure? What are your kids getting out of sports?"

  • "Stop outsourcing your parenting."

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Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen

Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/

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