3 Ways to Be a Great Parent Without Overscheduling

15880548 - loving mother daughter enjoying in park

3 Ways to be a Great Parent

Have you seriously thought about why you have your child enrolled in the after school and weekend activities he or she is in? Is it to gain confidence in a particular skill? Is it for competition? Is it to have fun?

I’m a tough old bird now and I probably see things differently than young mothers. No, I’m certain I see things differently. And I might remind you that hindsight is 20/20. I recall evenings sitting with other (married) parents at the ball park while all three of my children were playing in Little League. It was wholesome and once in a while they enjoyed it. Mostly they did it because their friends were doing it. That’s okay, too. All I was thinking was “What are we going to eat for dinner?” and “When can we go home?” One particular time I will always remember is trying to be watching at the diamond when my child was up to bat. I kept running from one diamond to the other.

Then there was the time when my youngest was playing outfield. He patiently waited for something to happen, for a ball to come his way. Someone must have said something ugly to him. That night he walked off the field never to return. I was relieved – one down two to go. I know, I know quitting shouldn’t be an option. However, in this old bird’s opinion, children can do other things that build a sense of teamwork and sportsmanship and do not take away from family time.

There are differences of opinion on this. Feel free to share yours if you like. Mine is-do not over schedule the preschooler and be very cautious with elementary aged children as well. Too much is just that too much.

Sometimes the “too much” takes the place of the too little of other more important things like family meals together.

  1. One sure way to be a great parent is to sit down to meals with your children. I wrote in a post seven years ago – “I heard just this month in a television interview that research is also supporting the fact that children in families that have meals together are less likely to use drugs. I have also heard that children who share meals with family during the week make better grades.” The evidence is there. And it makes perfect sense that spending time together – face to face over a meal is essential for building relationships. The food doesn’t make you great, the time together does.
  2. Listening is another essential ingredient in building a strong parent-child relationship. Recently I posted about the importance of listening. Recent Post.  Each of your children needs to know they can talk to you alone when no one else is listening in. Listen carefully, between the lines. Give them this time and you will be a great parent.
  3. Respect their individuality. Every child on earth is unique. Isn’t that wonderful? When I worked in Special Education I learned that every student, no matter the disability, was entitled to my respect. I could then discover their personal talent. Give your child respect for who she or he is and you will be a great parent.
headshot-in-blueI raised three children as a single mother before I remarried. I have experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years I know a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. I am the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. I’m also a Certified Professional Coach and my stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving is available on CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online.

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