Thursday, October 24, 2013

Parenting Tip - Do Not, I repeat, Do Not Overschedule Your Children!

I was talking with another piano teacher who told me that one of her students is blind.  She mentioned that his caretaker brings him to lessons and sits in another room waiting for him.  Her student never progresses and she was feeling frustrated one day at his lesson.  Finally, she asked him when he practiced--when in the schedule of his day did he find time to practice the piano.  He replied in astonishment, "you mean I'm suppose to practice at home?"

The teacher asked him about his day's schedule to try to help him find a time to practice but he said he was always busy.  She went and talked to his caretaker about his piano practice and she answered the same as he did, "you mean he's suppose to practice at home?"  After talking with the caregiver she realized that he had no time at all to practice the piano at home.  He went from one activity to another after school until it was time for bed.

I have had piano students do the same thing and I feel like shouting to the parents, "What are you doing??????  What are you teaching your child?"

This is really a pet peeve of mine--overscheduling children.

I've tried to look at it from the parents' perspective and know they have their children's interests at heart.  They are probably trying to enrich their children's lives, expose them to different kinds of activities and help them develop their talents.  But instead, too often, they are teaching them wrong principles.

They are teaching them:
*  I can do it all.  I'm a super kid and I can be good in sports, be in gymnastics, learn a musical instrument, swim, etc.

*  I deserve to do it all because my friends are doing it all.

*  I can do it all without practicing.  I can show up to rehearsals, lessons and that's all that's required of me.  I don't understand the concept of daily practice to become more proficient.

*  The Law of the Harvest--what you grow, you reap--what's that?  I just show up, then leave and don't really get good at anything.

*  I'm here to be entertained.

 I understand that parents want their children to be well rounded, be able to compete with their friends at school, and to develop talents.  They want them to have the life they didn't get to have, the lessons they missed out on, the talents they wished they had.  But unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

So what do parents do?  Can't your children take any lessons or experience any new classes?  Yes, of course, but there is a balance to life.  You can have your child take gymnastics or be in the after school choir or be in sports, but it doesn't have to be all at the same time.  One summer do gymnastics, one semester be in the youth choir, choose one season of sports.  Then if your child shows an increased interest in one area, choose it for continued lessons and daily practice to help your child develop a talent in that area.

Your children need time to be home with their family.  Time to do their homework without rushing through it at the last minute.  Time to sit down with the family and eat dinner.  Time to help out with family chores.  Time to play with younger siblings.  Time to read books.

Don't put your child through a rushed childhood.  Let him enjoy being a child.  Playing, imagining, swinging outside, writing with chalk on the sidewalk.  Riding his bike, skating.  Talking with you.  Laughing.  Snuggling.  Enjoying life. Loving you.

Give your child a happy childhood.

Here are just a few of my happy grandchildren.  I'm so glad their parents are balancing their activities and giving them a happy childhood.






Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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2 comments:

  1. Yes! This is so true! My kids seem to be on a never-ending schedule. Some weekends, I make them do NOTHING at all. I tell them to entertain themselves all day. Yes, they get bored. They get miserable. But, after a while, they start getting creative and find things to do. They play, they create, they sing, they dance - and they have a chance to be kids without being shuttled from soccer game to piano lesson to whatever. Great post!

    http://pianosheetmusiconline.com/

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  2. Parents would really learn a lot from this post. I definitely agree with your last statement. We, parents should just let our kids enjoy their childhood. It is the time of their life that they really want to explore and learn a lot of things. Their experience, whether good or bad will shape them to become a better individual.

    Logan Rojas @ Focus on Kids Pediatrics

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