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College of Human Ecology

K-State Specialist: Limit kids' activities

Monday, August 20, 2007

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Back-to-school days are a good time to re-think kids´ schedules - and yours, said Charlotte Shoup Olsen, Kansas State University Research and Extension family systems specialist.

A new school year typically offers new opportunities, but in an effort to give children a variety of experiences, parents and children may find themselves stressed to the max, she said.

We all need down time, said Olsen, who likens taking time out to charging the battery in the car.

This year, plan to focus on a few activities that will still allow time for family members and the family as a unit, she said.

"Including children in the decision-making process is advisable - it gives them some ownership in the decision-making process," said Olsen, who offered the following tips:

* Look at the schedule or notices that come home from school together;

* Talk with your child about his or her interests to narrow down the list, and

* Make a list of potential benefits and negative impacts for each activity to help in the decision-making process.

"Think it through before making a commitment," Olsen warned. If a child signs up for a sport that practices until 5:30 p.m. five days a week, what else can he or she reasonably manage? Should a family sign up for an activity that meets at 6:30 p.m. when parents can´t possibly get home from work before six?

"Choosing a limited number of activities allows a child to explore interests, without feeling pressured to move on to the next activity," Olsen said.

More information on managing family relationships is available at county and district Extension offices and on the K-State Research and Extension Web site: www.oznet.ksu.edu.

K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.

Story by:
Nancy Peterson
K-State Research and Extension

For more information:
Charlotte Shoup Olsen is at 785-532-1161 or colsen@ksu.edu

This article was posted on Monday, August 20, 2007, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.