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Are We There Yet?

How much activity is too much for the kids and family?

Recently, I polled my friends on Facebook: Should I enroll my 5-year-old son in soccer or T-ball? Or should he do both?

About a dozen wise mothers and fathers cautioned me to think twice before we take on both sports. (In addition to swimming lessons, starting kindergarten and everything else.) Kids needs “down time,” advised one friend. Be careful about overscheduling, wrote another.

Their advice seemed appropriate as I read yesterday’s Spokesman-Review story, “Bedlam rules the day,” which described how crazy spring can be for many families.

One of the families with four children had a busy week ahead of them: two graduations, a graduation party, two baseball games, a track meet and a band concert. Just reading about their schedule made me tired.

For a different perspective, I read a piece by the “Idler,” also known as Tom Hodgkinson, a British writer who has written several books on “idling” including “The Idle Parent.” (Thanks, Paul.)

In Hodgkinson’s essay, which was published last month in The Telegraph, he offered the following advice for parents who aspire to be idle:

 • Have a do-nothing day

• Get into the garden

• Go to the woods or the sea

• Laugh more

You’ll have to read his piece to appreciate the suggestions. He ends with this:  “And we all need to stop trying to be perfect. It is not possible. Let your house be a little messy: it’s polite, as it makes visitors feel good about their own homes. The greatest gift you can give your child is to be happy yourself. Aspire to freedom, not to status or riches. That is true wealth.”

So, parents… How do you know when your family is doing too much?


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This blog is intended to provide a forum for parents to share knowledge and resources. It's a place for parents young and old to combine their experiences raising families into a collective whole to help others.

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