Now is the perfect time to take a long, hard look at your family's regular calendar and realize that maybe your over-scheduled life is doing more harm for your family than good.
We often get so wrapped up in the day-to-day hustle that we don’t step back and realize how much of what we are cramming into our week is unnecessary, or that we are letting so many good moments fly by, amidst our normal chaos.
Even though we all want to be super mom, we can’t do it all! And so many of us are trying to do it all, with extra icing on top. There’s no such thing as the “you’re-doing-too-much police” - so we try and try to cram as much stuff into our lives as possible. All the children’s activities. All the extra work hours. All the family gatherings. The week is full. The weekends are full. Your brain is full. Who is to tell you when enough is enough? Your calendar is too full!
Our society has gotten to a place where we don’t realize that being too busy can be damaging to ourselves and our children.
I’ve had the privilege of teaching yoga and dance to thousands of California kiddos in the Bay Area and Orange County, and one thing always rings true - they are all craving quality down time with their families.
My elementary age yoga students have all come to love ‘relaxing pose’, where I simply let them lay in the dark with relaxing music on. That’s it! Sometimes I spruce it up with a guided meditation, some lavender spray, or a little shoulder rub. But day after day, I have kids coming in to after school yoga saying “Ms. Nikki, can we do relaxing pose today?” Not asking for freeze dance, coloring time, or games. They tell me how tired they are, and that when they leave yoga class they have a list of other things to do before bedtime.
Just like we make it a priority to put down and recharge our phones at night, our brains and bodies need the same recharge - this is especially true for children, who are still growing their mental and emotional capacities. Would you step our of the house in the morning with a dead phone and no plans to charge it? Probably not.
An over-schedule and over-tired child is going to act out. And they don’t always know themselves why they are acting out. An over-scheduled and over-tired parent is not always going to take the time to sit down and figure out what the root cause of their children’s actions are. Often times, the child may just be craving simple down time with their family, or even alone. I’ve observed this time and time again, but I usually don’t tell the parents because it is such a sensitive subject.
As a business owner, when a student would drop out of class for whatever reason, the business woman in me would be let down. But in my heart, I was often actually happy for some of the children who were dropping their yoga or dance class, because I knew how badly their souls just needed to slow down. One hour of yoga or dance per week sounds harmless, but when its comes after a full day of school, then is followed by karate and homework, all in a one day, its too much. One less activity on this child’s calendar would benefit this child more than what is supposed to be a fun and relaxing class.
My hope is that this shelter in place will give children the extra down time they need, and that parents will come out of this with a new outlook on what is best for their family’s emotional and mental well being.
Now is the perfect time to take a step back, think, and slow down! Play outside, cook and eat a home cooked meal together, snuggle up in the living room, do extra art projects, or have your kids put on a performance. All families can happily engage in these activities. Once this shelter-in-place order is lifted, don’t rush back in to your normal routine. Remember to look at your calendar and think twice before adding everything back in. Keep track or the good moments during this time, take note of how it has you feeling, and take note of if your childrens’ moods or behavior seem any different. Give the new slowness some time to all really soak in before deciding how you feel about a less-scheduled life. Enjoy!