Best of the Web: Active or overscheduled kids? And more

Finding balance in extracurricular activities, why half of parents want to improve their disciplining skills and patience, and understanding school avoidance.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

Active or overscheduled kids? How parents can consider benefits and risks of extracurricular activities

(Marissa Nivison, Sheri Madigan, The Conversation)

With the start of a new school year upon us, it also means that many extracurricular activities return to the weekly schedule. This article explores how parents can find the right balance for their kids.

Extracurricular activities can be an excellent way for kids to develop skills like teamwork, time management, and leadership. The authors write, ‘they learn routes to feeling accomplished that don’t depend on academic performance’.

But there are also risks to consider.

‘Overscheduling kids may also quickly overwhelm children as they are balancing multiple activities on top of their schoolwork — and may leave kids prone to stress, physical complaints and self-reported anxiety and depression’, say the authors.

So, what’s the key? It’s all about finding a healthy balance. Parents should encourage their children to explore different activities and discover their passions. However, it’s crucial to avoid overwhelming them with excessive commitments. Regular and open communication with kids about their interests, energy levels, and enjoyment of activities can help strike the right balance. It’s more about quality over quantity when it comes to extracurricular activities.

While extracurricular activities offer incredible benefits, we need to be cautious not to overload our kids. Striking a healthy balance, encouraging communication, and prioritising free time are essential for their overall well-being.

Read the full article

47% of parents want to be more consistent with discipline in 2024

(Aditi Shrikant, CNBC)

According to a recent survey, around 47 per cent of parents expressed the desire to improve their disciplinary methods, and 78 per cent say they are going to strive to be more patient in 2024.

The study found that many parents felt they could do a better job at enforcing rules and boundaries for their children. They believe that consistency is key when it comes to discipline, and they want to create more structure while also providing a safe emotional environment for their kids.

Mona Delahooke, a child psychologist, explains that it’s a case for trying ‘responsive parenting’.

‘Kindness and firmness are not oil and water,’ she says. ‘They can go together.’

This could involve setting clear expectations, implementing consequences for misbehaviour, and following through with discipline consistently. Parents hope to establish a sense of order and respect within their households by being more consistent.

It’s worth noting that the survey didn’t imply that these parents were harsh or neglectful; instead, they simply wanted to enhance their parenting skills and create a more balanced and stable environment for their children.

So, as we step into the new year, it seems that many parents are embarking on a mission to bring consistency and discipline into their households, all for the sake of their children’s overall wellbeing.

Read the full article

I help kids who refuse to go to school. This is what I've learnt

(Rebecca Plunkett, Kellie Scott, ABC Everyday)

Dealing with children who refuse to go to school is a common issue that many parents and caregivers face, and one that can be highly challenging.

Rebecca Plunkett has over a decade of experience working with students who experience ‘school avoidance’, and she shares how we can better understand these children.

She says, ‘Refusal has a negative association. When we talk about avoidance, we acknowledge that they avoid going to school because it is too emotionally distressing for them’.

Understanding why a child is avoiding school is an important step. It could be due to anxiety, bullying, academic struggles, or even just a strong dislike for school. If parents or carers can figure out the underlying reason, it becomes easier to address the issue.

Rebecca suggests involving the school and seeking professional help if needed. There are very likely some early warning signs – some things that may be occurring at home or at school – so it’s crucial to communicate with the school and work together.

She also acknowledges the parents of these students.

‘When you get to the point of school refusal, parents have already tried really hard to get their kid to school. If they could get them there, they would.’

She suggests parents ‘create some small steps with your child, and team together to address the school avoidance’.

Like this post? Please share using the buttons on this page.

Read the full article