5 Signs Your Kids Are Too Busy

Updated Aug 01, 2023
5 Signs Your Kids Are Too Busy

Busyness is glorified in today's world. Adults work long hours, not leaving much time to spend with their children. This causes kids to find other means to fill their time. This sends the message that busyness is not only normal but expected. 

A Simpler Time

As a kid growing up in the 80s, life was simpler. Kids were not shackled to their phones, there was no steady stream of television any time of day, and kids were encouraged to learn a sport or skill. My family was a one-income household. Although moms were starting to work during that time, my mom was a stay-at-home mom. There was no extra money for dance classes or sports leagues. When I came home at the end of the day, homework came first. When homework was done, I was free to watch TV, read, or do something else until bedtime. On weekends, my dad would take me to the park or go swimming in the summer. These were simple activities I did to pass the time. And yes, many summer days went by when I suffered from extreme boredom! 

It’s a Different World

Today, however, it is a whole different story. Kids are placed in two or three activities a season, in addition to schoolwork, normalizing an overpacked schedule, and leaving little room for rest and relaxation. Because kids have little margin in their lives, they suffer from mental disorders like depression and anxiety and struggle with a constant need to fill every second of silence with some sort of noise. Kids don't enjoy a simple meal around the table where parents ask kids how their days were and what's going on in their lives. This causes kids to go on their phones and seek acceptance through group chats and make friends with people that may not be worth their time. 

If you question whether your child is too busy, here are five signs they might need a bit more rest and a little less activity:

1. Boredom

They have trouble with boredom- Although boredom was common in my home, kids are not tasked with using their creativity when they get bored. Because they have technology and activities at their fingertips, there are no moments when kids sit and enjoy nature, enjoy a time of silence, or just do nothing. Today, society frowns upon minimal activity. Boredom is good for kids! It teaches them to take regular breaks in-between hard work to give their brains the mental and physical rest they need. If you find your kids need to fill every waking moment with something to do, challenge them to turn off their phones and use their imaginations instead. 

2. Mental Health Struggles

Their mental health is suffering- I always struggled with anxiety as a kid. Some of it stems from the strict household I grew up in, and some of it also comes from the competitive private school I attended. I studied many hours to keep up with the work that was required to stay in school. Although I appreciate that I was challenged academically and received a good education because of this, I do suffer from anxiety as a result. I get easily overwhelmed when I have too many tasks to perform. In the same way, your children might be suffering from anxiety or even depression because they're simply too busy. Whether their time is filled with extra homework or trying out for every sport, it can take a toll on their mental health if not careful. 

Keep conversations open between you and your child. Ask them often how they are doing and how they are feeling. If they are feeling anxious or depressed in any way, seek help or reduce their schedule so that they can enjoy more downtime and enjoy life. As adults, they'll have plenty of time to feel stressed from all their responsibilities. Let kids be kids and let them just sit, allowing their nervous system to reset so they're not busy all the time. 

3. Priorities

They don’t prioritize time- As with anything in life, we can enjoy many things, but they can also become idols if we let them. Busyness is glorified in today's world. Adults work long hours, not leaving much time to spend with their children. This causes kids to find other means to fill their time. This sends the message that busyness is not only normal but expected. I have fallen into the trap of busyness as well. I constantly struggle with not making enough time for reading the Word, praying, or even spending time with the people I love. 

Just as I had to learn how to spend money wisely, I also had to learn how to spend time wisely. A great way I learned to do that is from Jesus. Jesus worked from a posture of rest. He worked from a peaceful mind and heart because he made time to connect with his Father. He spent the first moments of every day praying in silence to his Father. This gave him the strength to endure whatever came his way that day. But kids are not taught to pray or even give any time over to the Lord. Help kids prioritize their time by giving a tithe of their time to the Lord. Dedicate a few minutes in the morning to praying and sitting in silence. This will ready them for whatever the school day gives them. After school, they can read their Bible or pray. This will help them process what happened during the day, how they saw God at work, and ways in which they can be a better light to the world. Teach kids the importance of how they spend their time and there will be less busy. 

4. Negative Friendships

They don’t make good friendships- In my day, it was commonplace to go over to a friend's house and ask to play. We would spend hours playing with toys or playing hide and seek outside. Today, kids stay indoors and resort to watching television or playing games on their phones, rather than enjoying life in good relationships. Is it any wonder when they get to be adults, they can't form good relationships? Relationships are vital to our health and well-being. When kids spend their time playing video games or watching TV rather than spending time with friends, they are doing a detriment to their overall health. They're also missing out on important skills of making good friendships that will pave the way for healthy relationships in the future. 

Discuss with your child what it means to have a good friend. Encourage them to discuss what they like about themselves and how it's important to choose people with those same positive traits. When they can accept themselves for who they are and not worry about popularity, they can choose a few good friends who can meet their needs for connection and community. When they stop busying themselves with menial tasks and enjoy the benefit of good relationships, they are allowing themselves the beauty of less stress.

5. Poor Health Habits

They don’t practice good health habits- Although my parents were strict, they didn't help me develop good health habits. I had to learn as an adult how to drink water, eat good fruits and vegetables, and sleep at least 8 hours a night. Although I was able to learn these habits later in life, I wish my parents had laid the groundwork for me when I was a kid. Busyness easily derails me from maintaining these habits, causing me undue stress and chronic health problems. 

As any health class will teach, kids need to learn proper health habits to keep their bodies, minds, and spirits healthy throughout their lives. When kids are too busy, it places undue stress on them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Basic skills like eating well, exercising, and drinking water are a good place to start. Good health habits now will lay the groundwork for healthy habits as an adult. This will also help them make time in their schedules to exercise, get proper rest, and eat well to give them the energy to be productive and live life with meaning and purpose. 

Busyness in and of itself is not a bad thing. Being busy with the right things can maximize our time and productivity not only for ourselves but also for God. When we busy ourselves with distractions and other tasks, it can cause us undue stress, mental health issues, and possibly chronic health problems later in life. Practice the art of boredom and allow kids to just be kids. They may not appreciate it now, but when they get older, they will learn the art of simply reflecting or doing nothing that will reap many health benefits for years to come.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Anastasiia Boriagina

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.