Beyond the Books: Balancing your children's extracurricular activities

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -When do those dance classes or football practices become too much, and how do you, as a parent, find a healthy balance for your family?

In tonight's 'Beyond the Books,' we ask scheduling experts for answers.

Lisa Jones is a busy mom to three very busy children. 11-year-old Teddy, 9-year-old Emmy, and 6-year-old Will.

Besides school, Jones sees to it that this bunch is exposed to multiple activities, "mostly sports and it's usually Monday through Thursday."

"Our daughter does cheerleading and school choir and tennis and gymnastics," said Jones.

It all makes for a schedule that could quickly become overwhelming.

"I don't have the answers, like I said we sort of figure it out as we go."

Sharon Long, a counselor with Centers for Youth and Families says each family is different. And the key is finding the right balance.

"We don't want to overschedule at the risk of compromising what is most important and that is clear - those family relationships are most important. The family. Sitting down and sharing time together is really the most important really picture of the world," said Long.

Jones makes sure in her home that family time is protected. She also takes each activity a semester at a time, and she makes sure there is organization. One example is chalkboard lockers, where her children keep all their gear and can see visually what their week will be like. She also says sleep is key.

"We make sure we get enough sleep, we go to bed at a very early time, my kids get 10 or 11 hours of sleep each night," said Jones.

It's all about finding the balance, Jones says.

"As long as they're happy, it doesn't stress me out too much."


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