NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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Saying No and Saying Yes

speech bubblesChit-chatting with a friend the other day, he told me about his family’s very full the calendar and very busy life.  He specifically mentioned how it includes lots of running to kids’ activities.  Actually I think the words he used were “hectic, chaotic and crazy.”  He was describing what is known as a life that is “overdone.”

Being overscheduled is stressful.  The stress it causes looks different in adults than it does in children.  For adults, some of the signs of stress are an inability to concentrate, negativity, depression or general unhappiness, eating more or less, aches and pains, yelling, or almost always feeling rushed and frustrated. 


In children, signs of stress include unexpected crying, not enjoying usual activities, frequent headaches and/or stomachaches, clingy-ness, abandoning long friendships, or hostility toward family members.

Cutting back on our schedules, commitments, and activities can be challenging, difficult, and perhaps a bit painful.  However, rather than thinking about what you are giving up, think about what you may be gaining. 

Focus on the rewards of reclaiming family life with the people you love – your kids and your husband or wife.  Stephen Covey captured the essence of this when he said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  Wow!  What a difference it makes to rearrange the words in that sentence!

Cutting back on activities could mean you free up time for healthy family meals together.  It could mean that you pull together as a family, with everyone having a part in preparing, serving, and cleaning up after the meal.

A reward for cutting back on activities might mean you are able to create better sleep routines that promote better quality and quantity of sleep.  The benefits of good sleep habits for children are well documented and include better learning, fewer accidents, less sickness, decreased likelihood of becoming overweight, and better relationships with other people. 

Saying no to overscheduling might mean you are now free to say yes to frequent family stay-cations, or mini-adventures close to home.  It could be a chance to discover what’s in your own backyard and take  advantage of what tourists and visitors to your community come to do and see.

It could mean saving money because of the participation or registration fees, equipment, travel, meals and lodging expenses that are often associated with activities.  It could mean exercising, hanging out with your family, going for walks or bike rides or skating or sledding together, reading, or pursuing creative hobbies.

Sources:  NDSU Extension Service, “Overdone,” and Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, “Sleepless in America: is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep?”  Photo Credit:  https://pixabay.com/p-303206/?no_redirect (downloaded 11/18/15)

 

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