For many children and parents, the new school year brings excitement, growth, and change. However, it can also bring busy schedules and stress. As you organize your schedule for the upcoming school year, you may find your week packed with activities, leaving little time to relax. Here are some tips to take a step back and avoid over-scheduling your family this year.

As a parent, you want your child’s experiences to be varied and well-rounded. However, it’s easy to quickly schedule your child to overwhelming capacity. Ask your child to choose one activity that they will enjoy. This keeps them from feeling overwhelmed and saves you the stress of keeping up (not to mention the financial stress of paying for multiple activities at once). You can vary their activities throughout the year to switch it up: swimming in the summer, soccer in the fall, piano in the winter, and art classes in the spring. Free time to see friends, spend time with family, or just relax is crucial to your child’s overall well-being.

It’s also important to examine your own schedule. If you often find yourself bogged down by work meetings, try blocking off your calendar with designated, meeting-free time to get other work done. Identify activities that drain you, and prioritize things that bring you joy. We often think of our personal goals and hobbies as things we can only do if there is time leftover. Instead, try scheduling in time for things that make you happy, like lunch with friends, crafting, or reading. Don’t feel pressured to say yes to every single invitation – it’s OK to say no when you need some time for yourself!

While it’s important to avoid over-scheduling your family, a busy schedule is not always a bad thing as long as you listen to your body and pay attention to your health and well-being. If you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or just burnt out, it may be time to reevaluate your obligations. Check out our tips below to for some signs that you may need to re-examine your schedule.

Signs of an Overly Busy Schedule

  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches – Stress takes a toll on both your physical and mental health. If you often feel ill, it may be time to cut back on some obligations.
  • Always feeling tired – A busy schedule can leave you too exhausted to connect with family at the end of the day, and leave kids too tired for play dates and homework.
  • What used to be fun isn’t fun anymore – When you have too much to do, the thought of dinner with friends or a walk around the neighborhood may stress you out when it once brought you joy.

Sources: CDC, Parent Magazine. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.