New research from Boomerang EMEA shows that nearly 50% of kids pack four to seven hours of extracurricular activities and social events into their average week. And another 11% are putting in 8 to 10 hours a week.
There's a trend happening that takes away kids' downtime and opportunities to just be a kid and have fun.
25% of parents surveyed say their kids have busier lives than even they do and don't get enough free playtime.
Some of the biggest planned activities that take from children's free time are play dates, birthday parties, chores, homework, sports and theater.
Having such a busy schedule can cause children to have stress and fatigue. 54% of parents surveyed said they worry about their children feeling stressed out or under pressure.
How do kids use the small amount of free time / down time they have?
It is important that parents monitor their child's schedule and help build in free time. For many parents, the opposite happens. In effort to see their children become successful, they schedule their children with multiple activities with the hope it will give their child an edge academically or socially or athletically.
50% of parents say their child laughs most when playing with family, compared to only 30% who get their laughs from TV. Laughter is the opposite of stress. Laughter comes when we relax and have fun with our kids. It's time parents start monitoring how much free time their children are getting. It's also important for parents to build in some time with their child during their free time.
And it's crucial that we encourage and influence parents to make the most of the down time they have with their kids. We can influence parents and help them use the time they have with their kids productively. And often the most productive thing a parent can do with their child is to just simply sit and talk.
There's no doubt kids are busier than ever before. If we can encourage families to build in more down time, we will set them up for success. The goal is for kids to grow up knowing the difference between being busy and being productive. You can be busy without being productive.
Another important thing about helping kids enjoy downtime is spending some of their down time with Jesus. When we teach kids to spend some time getting away from the noise, the rush and the continuous hype, we can help them enjoy the experience of spending time with Jesus.