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5 Things Your School Kid Wants You to Think About

Photograph by Twenty20

School has started for some. Activities and homework will be back in gear, though sometimes I wonder if activities ever cease to slow.

Before you go scheduling your Kindergarten or 6th-grader in multiple activities, keep in mind a few things from their perspective:

1. Recess

It's is not very long. In fact, it's shorter then when we were kids. Kids being kids, they have a lot of energy. They need to run around. Unfortunately, they aren't given a lot of opportunity to do this at school. Cue the obesity epidemic panic soundtrack. If you hear that your kid is "misbehaving," find out how much time is given to run. Was his recess taken away for not completing work? (This happened at my school during Kindergarten.) Yes, totally unacceptable. Their measly 15-minute recess was dangled over their fried little heads.

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2. Long-ass school day

Volunteer at your kids' school one day. I promise, you will be starving by 9:30 a.m. and want a beer by noon. Children are learning, concentrating, navigating the waters of friendships and holding their bowels due to fear of being told "no, you can't go to the bathroom." (As an adult, I have never had a boss tell me I can't go to the bathroom, by the way.) So you cannot try to convince me there's some kind of training for the real world there.

3. Homework

So. Much. Homework. So, not only do they have a full day, then they come home there's more to do. Homework might involve parental help, especially when kids are assigned stuff that involves them Googling and writing, and they haven't learned to read yet. So hey, Moms and Dads, carve out time to help. But also consider blowing off the worksheets so they can have a little down time at some point.

4. Downtime

I get it, kids aren't working on the farm like they used to. There is a lot of free time. But it seems like a majority of kids are so booked up they don't even have time to play with their friends. When do kids even get downtime? Is it Kosher at all? I'm talking, getting lost in backyard play. Free-forming with Legos. Reading for pleasure and not to accumulate points. It's stressful to constantly be told what to do.

5. Kids, they're not so different from us

How many times have your friends said, it's all just too much? Well, of course our kids are feeling similar ways. Only they are kids. They cry, sass, mope. They're probably hungry, tired or overwhelmed.

Look, I'm no expert myself, and I've struggled with all of this. I do try to keep our house saner by scheduling far fewer activities than the modern family of 2015. I also just want to give them hugs and try to listen. If kids are constantly being rushed to here and there, and forced to do stuff that makes them cry, what's the point of instilling anxiety in my 5-year-old?

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I truly feel for this generation of kids. They're accused of being overprotected, but I don't think they are being protected as much as we think they are. The bombardment of doing and going can wreak havoc on their emotions.

I'm going to try and remember this myself. Good luck, Moms and Dads.

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