By: Jacqueline Koutsoufis
Summers winding down and the reality of the upcoming school year is settling in. Everyone is aware that a new, hectic schedule of school drop offs and pick ups, sports practices and games, and playdates and homework is right around the corner. You can’t even turn on the TV or open your inbox without seeing commercials or fliers advertising back to school sales.
I sit here and start to get overwhelmed and have to stop and remind myself, “We have been here before! We made it through we will make it through again this time.” I always seem to have a plan, and a back up plan, and a back plan for my back up plan. But it’s those rare times we go through all our plans that makes me worry.
We do we drive ourselves crazy?! We do we over plan and over think?! We do we over schedule and stretch ourselves thin?! Why are we teaching our kids how to over schedule and overcommit? When did it become normal to think that not having anything planned or scheduled is a bad thing?
I have to remind myself to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy not having a busy schedule all the time. There is nothing wrong with a sport, or other activity, but why do we have o have something everyday? It’s exhausting having to run from school, to an extracurricular activity, to another activity, to another activity, then home to finish homework, shower and bed- which is probably way later than we should be going to bed- only to wake up and do it all again the next day. I’m tired just thinking about it!
Enjoy a few minutes sitting with the family eating dinner at the table instead of in the car on the go to the next big thing.. You’d be amazed what you can learn about each other just by sitting and talking.
I have learned to slow it down a bit, and with that, teach my children they are not allowed to commit to something that they can’t give their full attention to. My husband and I have agreed on how many extracurriculars my kids will be allowed, and when it becomes time to drop one. School work comes first in our house and is the number one priority. If grades start to drop, those extra activities stop. We still have dinner together as a family almost every night. On the rare occasion we have to eat outside of the home we pack sandwiches and still eat together before a game.
Having a child with autism has helped my other children. My son gets overwhelmed with too much excitement or being rushed out of the house to an activity. He needs to go at a slower pace and time to transition. It has helped my other children to notice they need to slow just a bit. That everyone can’t be at a go go go pace all the time.