Tired, busy, stressed: Being bored can be good for children

Rushing kids to and from the hockey rink or over to art class and back can be exhausting for parents. But how does it make the children feel?

Overprogramming children can make them stressed

If you feel overtired, stressed and busy, chances are your children do too. (CBC)

Rushing kids to and from the hockey rink or over to art class and back can be exhausting for parents.

But how does it make the children feel?

Metro Morning is exploring a constellation of feelings that may very well define us as a city: being tired, busy, and stressed.

Dona Matthews, a developmental psychologist, said overprogramming can have an impact on children, but it sometimes can be difficult to tell.

"Parents should always be paying attention to their kid and see if they are stressed," said Matthews.

She has written several books about what happens to children when they're always busy. 

Busy, for children, can mean participation in one, two or five different activities. It is different for every person and family. But when a child is overprogrammed, it can lead to stress and fatigue.

Most children understand the concept of worry around the age of three, said Matthews.

"You cannot know for certain when too much is too much," she told Metro Morning. "But if you have a suspicion that your kids are overprogrammed, you are probably right."

Matthews suggests erring on the side of the under-challenge to avoid damaging or hurting your child.

"Doing less rather than doing more helps them manage stress," she said. This means scheduling "do nothing" times, outdoor times and just plain playtimes.

"I call these 'get bored' times," she said.

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