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Children Need to Achieve a Healthy Life Balance Too!!

As adults, we generally do our best to make sure that we are spending our time and energy on the “right” things. For most of us, this means our focus is targeted towards career, family, fun, health and whatever else we feel is important and leaves us with a feeling of fulfillment. It may be, however, that we are overlooking the same need for balance in the lives of our children. As parents, it is our obligation to ensure that our kids are getting their needs met in each area of their lives.


A life lived out of balance can result in many negative consequences-here are a few examples to help illustrate this point:


Children who spend too much of their time on academic pursuits are likely to feel overwhelmed and will perhaps suffer an undue amount of stress. On the flip side, kids who do not focus a reasonable amount of time on academic learning are on track to pay a heavy price later in life.


Children who do not put energy into forming appropriate social relationships may be affected in several unfortunate ways, including loneliness, depression, and perhaps becoming easy targets for bullies. Conversely, children who spend too much time with peers may be in jeopardy of neglecting other important areas, such as family and academics.


Families who do not prioritize bonding time may find themselves feeling disengaged and emotionally distant from one another. At the other extreme, family members who only spend time with one another may be missing out on opportunities to broaden their individual experiences.


A well-balanced life can help a child feel secure, confident, happier and more fulfilled. Refer to the list below for several tips to help children achieve and maintain a healthy life balance:


1) Recognize when your child is overextended-Oftentimes it happens that our kids are just doing too much. We each have a specific reserve of energy, and, if overloaded, we can suffer. Possible signs of overextension and excessive stress may include: Sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, foul or somber mood, anxiety, falling grades, and troubled relationships.


2) Sit with child to make a plan-Take the time to write down your child’s schedule. Be sure to include time spent at school, with family and friends, doing homework, participating in activities, and down time.


3) Discuss Pro’s and Con’s of each activity-Do your best to be sure that you and your child can both agree that each activity is necessary and beneficial to the well being of the child. Be open to really hearing and understanding about how your child feels about each component. If you disagree about the importance of a particular activity, see if you are able to talk it through and reach an agreement. Encourage areas that may be lacking, such as community outreach, spirituality, or family time.


4) Make sure activity is benefiting the child, not the adult-For example; ask yourself, “Is my son playing on the basketball team because he wants to or because I want him to?”.


5) Recognize importance of playtime and down time-It is really easy to get caught up in the constant rush of “go, go, go!” However, it is very important to recognize that setting time aside for relaxation is critically important to one’s overall good health.


6) Maintain healthy life balance yourself-The best way to teach is by example! Make sure that your life is well rounded and do your best not to let yourself become overextended in any area. Try to make quality family time a regular part of your daily routine-Consistent family dinners are a fine example of how this might be accomplished. Show your children that you value family, career, social relationships, community outreach-each and every area that you find invaluable to creating a harmonious life balance of your own.


Achieving and maintaining a healthy life balance is critical for all individuals, but perhaps even more so for children. Given the immaturity that goes along with youth, children cannot be expected to recognize when they are in a state of imbalance. It is up to us, as parents, to make sure that our children are living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.


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