Our children see less of us so we can earn more in order to give them more. Parents zealously book after-school activities hopeful that they will benefit children physically and mentally. But the combined effects of pressure to achieve and isolation from parents promote stress in children, according to Suniya Luthar, a psychology professor at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Less Time at Karate…More Time with You
Take a critical look at your child’s after-school schedule and talk with him or her about it. Consider eliminating an activity your child favors least. Cut highly competitive activities where children may be openly criticized for performance. Being shamed in front of peers undermines self-esteem and discourages children from trying new things. Consider dropping activities that are not well supervised or have little adult involvement.
Elect activities with the potential to build self-confidence. In his new book, “How Children Succeed,” author Paul Tough puts forth that non cognitive skills such as self-confidence and curiosity are more important than cognitive skills like those measured by IQ tests in achieving success. If your child likes to draw an after-school art class may promote his or her confidence in a low-stress environment. If your child needs academic help, find a tutor who knows how to scaffold instruction in a way that develops self-confidence while building academic skill.
Evaluating and reducing your child’s after-school commitments, leaving more time to renew and strengthen his or her connection to you,will reduce stress and fortify your child for the challenges ahead.