From the Guidance Office

Stay busy, not overwhelmed
Fall 2014: Stay Busy, Not Overwhelmed
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My planner is my anchor: It tells me where to be, what time to be there, who will be there, what I’m to take/buy/share and important dates I would forget without said planner.

Sometimes it seems impossible to juggle everything that life throws your way. Learning to be organized and flexible are the keys to success for many busy families.

Communication is a big factor, as well; my spouse and I have a quick “debriefing” on Sunday nights to go over the upcoming week, carpools, school events, practices and other events that require our attendance. It truly is a group effort to make it all work.

Many of you reading this lead busy lives, as well. As we think about the many facets of our busy lives, we must stop to think about our kids, who by virtue of being our kids, are busy, too.

Busy isn’t bad, necessarily. If your family isn’t busy enough, you might be bored. But if you’re too busy, you might feel overwhelmed. For instance, if you have a soccer game that runs late on a school night and you haven’t eaten dinner or done homework, that’s a not-so-fun kind of busy.

In a poll done by KidsHealth of 882 girls and boys ages 9 to 13 about being busy, almost all of them (90%) said they felt stressed because they were too busy. 17% said they felt this way most of the time and 24% said they felt like this all the time!

Therefore, helping our kids budget their time is as important as ours. You can start by having kids jot down how much time they spending doing this or that. Then, discuss possible changes to the schedule. Do they want to do one sport instead of two? Would they rather read before bed instead of watching TV? Could they do an outside activity instead of video games?

As parents, you’ll need to open up that conversation. At times, I feel my own kids may be doing a certain activity because they feel it’s my desire. Let them know you’re happy with whatever they choose to do. I like the idea of kids having ownership in something, but if they’re not completely sold on it, it can quickly turn into a lose-lose situation.

Along with busy family scheduling comes the topic of the dreaded homework battle. For starters, we must change our attitude about homework. We need to look at changing the terminology at home to something like “study time” when everyone in the home can “study” something: recipes, meal plans, swing set assembly instructions–you get the idea. If we can get excited about planning the weeks’ meals, it may help your son or daughter look at their multiplication facts more favorably.

Lastly, if you’re destined to be a busy family like mine, you must get creative when it comes to fitting it all in and motivating your children to be successful in all areas.

  • Find quiet places between school and practice for study time (i.e. library, coffee shop, park).
  • Use the car as a mobile quizzing station for spelling words, multiplication facts, rehearsing lines for the play, etc.
  • Take advantage of tutoring through the school, if offered.
  • Divide and conquer (my favorite); one parent stays home for study time while one heads to practice.
  • Seek out help when needed: Start a carpool, dinner club, study group. I guarantee for every 10 of us feeling overwhelmed, there’s another 10 hiding behind the well-thought-out planner, wondering if relief is on the way.

For free, printable planner templates and more reward/organization charts, check out these sites:

Shayne Brock
About author:

Shayne Brock, LPC, is a Professional School Counselor in the Nixa School District. She has been in the education and counseling field for 16 years.

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