< 1 min read
A close friend’s children are in elementary school and they spend an enormous amount of time playing various sports after school. After sports they still have to do homework and prepare for the next day. they even spend a lot of their weekends running between their private sports lessons that they do over and above their school sports.
While they both seems to enjoy being so physically active, they are also always exhausted. Their dad is also very competitive by nature and so the kids are both pushed to perform, not just to have fun.
Is there such a thing as too much sport for kids? How do you find a good balance between school, sports, and play and rest?
Marked as spam
It takes a gentle balance between being the parent that can monitor their childrens' stress and tiredness levels and supporting enough sport/activities that help build positive self-esteem and social skills. It is interesting that you are noticing the exhaustion and it might be worth sharing your observations with the parents without suggestion or comment. That way the parents may be able to start noticing for themselves if their children have had enough and can balance their childrens' needs better. Likewise, it might be that other things are going on for their children like medical issues, not related to the sports that might warrant their parents to step in and check in on how their kids are going in terms of tiredness. Either way, by gently increasing parent concerns about their own children, they can see where and if they may need to step in to make change.
This question seems like it might have been written about my family. We are a very athletic bunch and my kids are still pretty young. As parents, we're very involved and coach or volunteer for most of our kid's sports. It's a part of our lifestyle and on the outside, it may seem like it's a little much. But my kids are the happiest when they are on a field.
My kids are also involved and interested in many other activities, but if they were to choose between playing soccer 5 days a week or being home 5 days a week, they would rather have a busy schedule. We also attend a school where there is no homework until middle school, so that doesn't take over our afternoons. We do have plenty of days where we do "nothing" or just relax and stay at home. My kids also love drawing, reading, and gardening with me, and they have their fair share of screen time, too!
We're taking advantage of this time so our kids can socialize and participate at an affordable level. We understand as they get older it will be more exclusive, expensive, and specialized. I went to school for sport pyschology and understand the repercussions of specializing in sports with children.
To answer your question, if you can see the fatigue as an outsider, perhaps the kids are doing too much. With mine, it's the opposite...they are cranky and fatigued when it's in-between seasons. Sports at this age should be fun and character-building, not boot camp. I don't like seeing the parent pressure in young kids, because that creates a really tense environment. We're all about fun, moving our bodies, and developing new skills (both emotionally and physically).
As an elementary school nurse, I have seen many children worn out by too much time spent playing sports.
However, as a mother of 2 athletic daughters, I know that it is sometimes hard to curtail activities such as sports that the kids enjoy.
Our rule has always been only one sport or activity at a time. However, we noticed that sports still tended to overlap as the kids got older due to being picked for all-star teams and special camps.
Sometimes, kids put the brakes on sport overload themselves by stating that they do not want to play the sport the following year. Another clue that enough is enough is when your kiddo is reluctant to go to practice or games.
If they are whining and dragging around or the sport is interfering with school, I feel that the activity may be too much for the child. Kids should enjoy activities and sports at this age.
Some kids need more downtime than others, so it really depends on your child and how they react to the sport. They probably are fine if they are full of pep ad energy and enjoying their activity. If they can not get going in the morning or are resistant to participate, I would certainly take a close look at the benefit of the activity.