Finding A Healthy Balance Between Fun and Education

Posted by on 9/30/2019
As the new school year begins many parents wonder, how can they guide their children in healthy ways, to choose the correct amount of extra-curricular activities, while managing an ever more demanding amount of schoolwork. Participation in:

S.T.E.M. classes
Musical instrument lessons
Foreign language
computer classes

and many other choices, provide mental and physical stimulation which gives every child non-academic life skill like sharing, teamwork, problem solving, strategizing, building endurance and becoming more creative. Every parent wants their children to engage in a myriad of activities which not only burn off excess energy but let them feel the pure joy of achievement for each year of their physical and emotional development.  Multiple after school activities must be managed to allow for “down-time”, rest, relaxation, and stress-free vegging, that generates reinvigoration without stress or pressure to perform.

Let Children make the Choices 

Neuropsychologist Dr. Alice Ann Holland suggests that parents talk to their children about their avid interests, and let them pursue activities in which each child feels the joy of participation. Letting children pick the extra-curricular activities that excite them, or at least have input about what they are undertaking, adds to their feelings of worth, independence, and the excitement of having chosen for themselves, new and challenging levels of fun. Often, interest in an activity can wane, if what they’re doing is frustrating, physically taxing, or not something they find relatable. The purpose of these activities is to reduce stress, increase curiosity and stimulation, and extract relaxing, quality engagement, that lets them be impatient to have the experience again, and often.  Keeping the communication flowing with your active, growing, little energy balls, is critical in their finding and participating in areas of interest which are a perfect fit to nurture their interests, and grow their curiosity, while satisfying their physical and emotional growth.
The True Importance of Me-Time

To find a healthy balance between the educational process your children experience, 5 days a week, and that all-important structured after school activity, often referred too, and stressed as very necessary, “enrichment” engagement; there must be “me-time”, the time they get to spend just being themselves.  If silliness, reading a series of books, drawing and doodling, playing engaging board games like the Lucky Poke Games, or just hanging out with their bros in the neighborhood, and playing made-up games, is their version of special relaxation.  Let it be.  This time is their recharge process, and it’s a natural part of the healthy human condition to have unstructured moments daily.  Here is where balance establishes itself in crucial “pause” moments.
Lots of learning takes place during pause or “me-time”, because playing itself, is a learning tool. Leadership skills are honed in group games. Creativity is expanded as nature is explored, and cause and effect happen when activities like riding a scooter and taking a fall, hopefully with a helmet and pads in place, occurs.  Whatever children decide to do when they are totally unencumbered by expectations, structured learning, and the demands placed on them during enrichment programs, is priceless for their health and well-being.  These are the moments of calm, and in today’s world, they are almost as necessary as the oxygen needed to breathe.

Helping Children Stay Educationally Balanced

Many experts in the field of education, and teachers too, feel that classroom work, when accompanied by at least ten minutes of homework for each grade level, not only reviews, but reinforces the concepts of math, science, geography, grammar, English composition, spelling and other subjects.  PTA research has shown that it is now the quality of the homework assignments, not the time spent, that makes a greater impact on student achievements.  All educators agree that too much time spent on homework, after a full day of learning, negates the “love of learning” which teachers hope to achieve.  Recent statistics from the National PTA prove that test scores decline when too much homework is required.  The new approach to finding a balance in the homework required, has recently proven to be most effective. It is a voluntary approach known as “self-directed learning” that lets the children decide how much extra work they need to do per subject. Teachers are now asked to consider whether after school assignments fit all the children they teach, and if the material will enrich and ensure a student’s success in school.
Family Time, Promoting the Best Balance in Children’s’ Lives

Finally, the time that families spend together, engaging in activities which are both fun and offer educational content, such as museum visits, concerts, travel, volunteering in the community, going to church, playing games which challenge and inform like chess, learning archery, and just having fun together, is priceless and very beneficial for children.  It is imperative to find each family’s balancing points.  Parents need to prioritize their work and commitment schedules, to spend quality time with their children, and be role models for engaging in activities that inspire peacefulness, while adding new adventures, and giving each child skill mastery, and the highest form of self-esteem. 
Being active, constantly learning, and taking time to enjoy nature, be with friends and extended family, and engaging in silliness and humorous moments like trying to take the Lucky Poke Games challenge, and only poke one hole, when many other squares are filled with surprises; these moments create the family balance that lets everyone thrive. Visit today and let the laughter, adventure and memories begin!