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Is Your Child Overscheduled? Do they have School Burnout?

Ever changing teenager

Children today are often overbooked with school, music lessons, after-school activities, sports practices, homework and playdates.  This can result in overscheduling and burnout.  It can be a complicated balancing act and sometimes it is logistically impossible to fit everything in.  Overscheduled children can become stressed, less focused and irritable.  If your child seems less enthusiastic to go to school and balks at going to their after school sport or activity maybe it’s time to reassess their schedule.  Here are five tips to help motivate your child if they have school burnout:

1)  Evaluate your child’s schedule.  Determine if they have some activities they could let go if they need more downtime.  Talk with your child and ask them open ended questions to determine what is bothering them.

2)  Burnout or Boredom?  The issue might not be burnout; they could be bored.  If a child is not challenged enough, sometimes the symptoms can be the same as burnout. Consider discussing the possibility of gifted, advanced placement or elective classes.  Discuss with your child what would make them happy. Do they want to be more challenged?  It is important to keep the lines of communication open.

3)  Stop Drop and Roll?  Stop:  Take a step backward to assess what needs to be completed today.  Drop:   Drop things or activities that don’t need to be completed right away.  Roll:  Change direction or vary a routine.  If necessary, try delegating responsibilities.

4)  When to get help?  If you make changes in your child’s schedule and things still are not improving, you may consider seeking outside help.  If burnout continues it can lead to physical, emotional (depression) and academic consequences.  You may want to consult with a mental health professional or consider hiring tutor to help ease the burden of school stress.

5)  Slow down together.  If a child is burned out, it is likely the parents are too.  A parent’s stress might be affecting their child.  Try having family dinners a few times a week and enjoy family time together.  This downtime is needed.

“Parents should be less fearful that their kids aren’t getting ahead and more worried about their overall quality of life.”  Michael Thompson, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Pressured Child.”  Keep the lines of communication with your child open and follow your intuition.  If you feel your child is stressed or unhappy about school, it is time to make some changes.

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