Helping My Kids Balance their Days

Two out of our three children are in progressive schools. While I do think the traditional school system also has its advantages and our son who goes to a trad school is happy and thriving, one things I value in the progressive education system is that the kids have more time to play and to explore their interests and passions.

With much of the learning and studying done during school hours, and less load of homework, progressive schooled kids have more time to explore hobbies, interests, sports, or even just time for leisure. With this free time however comes the need to also be more conscious about keeping a balance amidst their days. Since progressive schools have a relatively gentler approach to academics and the grading system, guarding our kids’ academic performance lies also in the hands of the parents. While our kids are pursuing their passions and interests, it is also up to us to safeguard that they take academics seriously as well so that overall learning and development will not be compromised.

Everything has its season
Everything has its time.
Show me a reason and I’ll soon,
show you a rhyme.

One thing I’ve realised is that In both school systems, whether there be a heavier or lighter load of school work, there is still a need for us to teach our kids how to balance school and play time.  With our eldest, our college kid, he’s come to realize the demands of college life while being a member of the fencing varsity team.  School plus varsity practice is demanding on time and energy so  his gimmick time with friends, gaming events, etcetera relegated to the weekends, but only Saturday because Sunday is our family day.

Parenting For my kids who are in progressive schools and find more time in their hands, the challenge is to not give in to “lazy days” where they just while away their free time on “time wasters”.  For my son in the traditional system, the challenge is in squeezing in time for activities that will nurture his passions and talents outside of academics.   It seems that life was much less hectic during our time, so I never though I would have to teach my own children about the principle of “work life balance”. Time was when this was just the problem of a multi- tasking working mama, and not that of a child.  So, now I’m just relieved that I have some of my own balance strategies that I can now use with my own children, such as these: Parenting
This chalkboard shelf system has become an organization tool for Reese. (Made by Miss Spacemaker)

• Calendar it.  On Reese’s bedroom wall, we have a white board calendar and she also has a chalkboard on her shelf that she uses to plan her day. We plan out each month and write down activities that are set such as school activities, special occasions, etc. Then we start plotting in our extra curricular classes like her CMA sessions, tennis etc.  Lastly we write her fun activities like sleepovers, or when we will play card games, or our little projects like fixing the frames in her room or painting and biking.  From this simple calendaring activity, Reese has learned to value her time, and also set pockets of time for things she likes to do.  Tip: you can use a different coloured marker per type of activity then you can see in one glance how balanced your month will be.
• Assign days. Assigning days ahead of time lessens arguments and struggles between parents and children. For my teens who have been going out, we have an agreement that Sundays are strictly for family time. If we have a family activity on other days, we tell them ahead of time so they don’t schedule other things on those days. For my 9 year old, her iPad days are only Fridays to Sundays. During weeks of tests or exams, computers and ipads are really set aside to lessen distractions during this period. Hopefully this no-gadgets rule will help them focus more on their studies plus giving them Propan TLC also helps because of the mineral Taurine which helps in brain development and memory.

With these pre-set, simple rules, we rarely argue about their “going out too much” or if she is “on her ipad too much.”

Parenting • Choose your battles.  I used to have lengthy conversations with my boys about how much time they spend on their laptops and this was clearly our “friction point”.  They tried to make me understand how their video gaming is only a small chunk of how they spend their time, and seeing how indeed they were spending even more time studying and indulging in sports, I saw their point. So while I wish they learned to make music on a piano rather than pressing on keyboards with their gaming,  I let them have their gaming time here, because I know they are still living in a balanced way. Parenting

• Get involved. Like most things in parenting, we also have to be conscious at our own balancing act so that we set good examples to our kids.  I myself am guilty of being busy working on my smartphone, and by the time I look up I realize I have “wasted” an entire afternoons and the kids are right beside me on their gadgets as well.  Although I believe that occasional “wasted afternoons” are fine (that is also part of balance, isn’t it), i would rather have spent that time outside, walking or biking to the park or play a boardgame, or cooking in the kitchen together.

Besides balancing work and play, there is also that challenge to choose to be healthy and active than to have stagnant, phlegmatic days.  The challenge to choose healthy food than junk. The choice to be proactive about our health and make sure we have the right nutrients than having a “bahala na” attitude about it.  So I also talk to the kids about the importance of vitamins, fruits and veggies and proper hydration.  For Reese, she knows how important it is for her to take her Propan TLC daily because its balanced nutrients and minerals help keep her healthy. Being a bit picky with her food, then she knows that drinking daily will not only fill up whatever voids there are in her daily nutritional requirement but will also help give her a healthy appetite because of the mineral Lysine.

I think it just takes communication to make our kids understand own to be conscious about keeping balance in terms of activities that nurture their body, their minds or their spirits. For us parents, it is also empowering to give them the trust they have earned from us and helps them to grow eventually into responsible and balanced adults.

This is a sponsored post by Propan TLC, a brand that believes in providing complete and proper nutrition for children.  As we all strive to live balanced lives with enough time to work and play,  let’s remember to also ensure our kids have balanced nutrition intake with the right food and multivitamins.  

Punuin ang saya ng araw by bonding with your child sa larong Propan High Flyers. Download and play it here:

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