Quantcast

Back-to-School 101: Balancing extracurriculars with academics - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Back-to-School 101: Balancing extracurriculars with academics

Posted: Updated:
SHELBURNE, Vt. -

It is a busy night for the Vincents in Shelburne: dinner, homework and four kids. And this is the family's night off.

"So, we can have dinner and get caught up on what going on in their life," mom Nicole said.

It is the one night during the week without soccer, music or other extracurriculars.

Daughter Courtney sings and plays soccer year-round. The sixth-grader loves defense.

"It's the last line of defense that the player has to get by to score," Courtney explained.

"It definitely requires lots of planning ahead," Nicole said.

Keeping things on track means a full evening schedule for everyone in the family. But Jason and Nicole say it's worth it.

"I feel it's getting them out from the TV room, off their phones, stop texting and getting them exercise," Nicole said.

"Scheduled activities can teach kids perseverance, teach them to follow rules, can teach them how to get along with other kids in many ways," said Julie Erdelyi, an education and communication expert with the Stern Center for Language and Learning.

Erdelyi says getting kids active and involved outside the classroom helps kids throughout their development. But she says there can be too much of a good thing. Even enthusiastic kids can suffer from overscheduling.

"If the structured activities completely take over and eliminate any time for unstructured free play, downtime, especially for young kids growing up, they're losing the benefit of having to solve problems that come up that don't have a coach nearby or don't have rules to govern," Erdelyi explained.

She says teachers are seeing a shift in their classes to kids less able to handle changing situations on their own. Experts believe technology could be fueling some of that, but they think that a shrinking amount of free time could also play a role.

"I hear from teachers over and over again there's a difference in kids today versus kids they may have had 10 or 15 years ago, where there's sort of a diminished capacity for some of this spontaneous problem-solving, some of the communication skills, some of the self-regulation skills," Erdelyi said.

She says parents know their kids better than anyone and are the best judges of when a schedule is just too much.

Look out for increased tantrums in young kids or acting out in teens. A sudden lack of enthusiasm in a favorite activity can be a sign of fatigue. And if a child says he or she does not want to go to an activity any more-- listen and find out why.

Finding the right balance for each child is key. For the Vincents, the busy schedule is working with happy, enthusiastic kids.

"We've definitely said if their grades slip or they're not getting good grades, then something has to give," Nicole said. "And also if they complain about going to practice, or they say, 'I don't want to do that,' or we see them getting overtired or just being cranky kids, we'd just be like-- enough."

Experts say parents also need to make sure THEY do not get overwhelmed by keeping up with their kids' schedules. If you're stressed and overtired, it can impact your kids.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Burglary suspects caught

    Burglary suspects caught

    Saturday, August 23 2014 12:18 AM EDT2014-08-23 04:18:38 GMT
    Vermont State Police nabbed a pair of suspected burglars and believe they're linked to several other crimes.
    Vermont State Police nabbed a pair of suspected burglars and believe they're linked to several other crimes.
  • Sen. Jim Jeffords laid to rest

    Sen. Jim Jeffords laid to rest

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:12 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:12:17 GMT
    Sen. Jim Jeffords was one of Vermont's beloved public servants, with a career that took him from the hills of Shrewsbury to the U.S. Senate. Friday, in his hometown of Rutland, James Jeffords was laid to rest.
    Sen. Jim Jeffords was one of Vermont's beloved public servants, with a career that took him from the hills of Shrewsbury to the U.S. Senate. Friday, in his hometown of Rutland, James Jeffords was laid to rest.
  • Is it safe to move accused killer Elizabeth Teague?

    Is it safe to move accused killer Elizabeth Teague?

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:09 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:09:17 GMT
    The Vt. Dept. of Mental Health says scarce resources are part of the push to relocate alleged workplace shooter Elizabeth Teague to a facility with fewer regulations. Elizabeth Keatinge was at Friday's hearing.
    The Vt. Dept. of Mental Health says scarce resources are part of the push to relocate alleged workplace shooter Elizabeth Teague to a facility with fewer regulations. Elizabeth Keatinge was at Friday's hearing.
  • Police investigate death of 13-year-old in Hardwick

    Police investigate death of 13-year-old in Hardwick

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:10:40 GMT
    Investigators say a teen was found dead at a home in Hardwick Friday morning.
    Investigators say a teen was found dead at a home in Hardwick Friday morning.
  • Vt. police say all clear in Newport

    Vt. police say all clear in Newport

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:12 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:12:45 GMT
    Police say the threat is over in Newport. Thursday night, police had asked residents to lock their doors and stay inside while authorities searched for a gunman.
    Police say the threat is over in Newport. Thursday night, police had asked residents to lock their doors and stay inside while authorities searched for a gunman.
  • NY police try to ID pharmacy burglar

    NY police try to ID pharmacy burglar

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:39 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:39:59 GMT
    New York State Police hope the public can help identify a burglar.
    New York State Police hope the public can help identify a burglar.
  • Williston police try to ID paint thief

    Williston police try to ID paint thief

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:11:41 GMT
    Police are investigating an unusual theft at the Wal-Mart in Williston.
    Police are investigating an unusual theft at the Wal-Mart in Williston.
  • Driver of overweight big rig nabbed in Vermont

    Driver of overweight big rig nabbed in Vermont

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:20 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:20:31 GMT
    The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles says a trucker carrying part of a giant crane to a state bridge job had too much weight on his rig and too much alcohol in his system.
    The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles says a trucker carrying part of a giant crane to a state bridge job had too much weight on his rig and too much alcohol in his system.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.