If you’re like me, you schedule your free time because work consumes every waking moment! I won’t attempt to advise you on lightening your schedule because I can’t figure out how to lighten mine. Instead, I want to talk to you about your older child/teen’s schedule.
There are often only two camps when it comes to children’s schedules. One camp says that kids need to be allowed to be kids, and as such, nothing beyond school should be scheduled for them. The other camp tries to give wings to every passing fancy, even if it prohibits being home before eight in the evening every night. I’d like to encourage you to set your tent up somewhere between these two camps.
If your child is in school, he has a job. His job is to make himself as marketable for college as possible. If your child is doing that correctly, then he is involved in not only the academic day, but also extra-curricular activities that make his college resume look good. Add doing well in homework so as to attain the highest GPA possible, and your child has a pretty full schedule.
Some kids have extra-curricular desires, however, that are not offered in school. That is when you should facilitate that desire. The danger comes when you facilitate every desire.
One of the greatest things you can teach your older child/teen is how to keep a schedule. If your child is a teen, and you are still packing his afterschool activity bag, you are failing at this. It is not wrong...nay, even encouraged… for you to let your child face the music for forgetting the correct shoes for soccer or the music for piano lessons. It’s through these consequences that your child learns how to maintain a schedule and all that encompasses. It is also okay to say to your teen, “Put dinner with the family on your schedule at 6:00” or “Don’t schedule anything for that free Saturday next month; we’re having a family day.”
I’m not going to insinuate that mentoring your child on scheduling will protect her from 70+ hour work weeks when she grows up. But knowing how to schedule dates and family time and fun just could save her sanity!