I was busy seeing patients in the office last Monday when Sonia Azad from channel 8 news called my office to see if Dr Hubbard, a regular contributor to WFAA, could offer some advice regarding how her own children are preparing for the upcoming school year-what sports will they play? How will she help them balance rigorous academic demands with those of competitive team sports? Even though I’m sure Dr Hubbard has wisdom to share on the matter, she thought the issue would be best addssed by a pediatrician’ mom with kids at home! So this is how I ended up on channel 8 news last week. I answered Sonia’s questions in real time – no chance to prep prior to our discussion, but since we met and spoke on the matter I’ve had some more time to think on the conversation. I struggle with work-life balance daily, and so do our kids – more now than ever.

What can help our kids manage this quandary – how do they excel, or even survive, multiple stressful environments? What “house rules” can help them succeed?

  1. Designated, interruption-free study time – no phones, TV or other interruptions – no multi-tasking around homework – set 30min study blocks punctuated by 5 min breaks to check texts, get a snack etc – use a timer if needed – this creates efficient studying – so important when time is limited. Kids who study with their phones on hand or the tv on in the background literally waste time.
  2. No electronics within an hour of lights out (goal is an hour, 30 min is absolutely enforced) – it is stimulating and hard to put down – just turn them off and charge in a central location overnight.
  3. One primary sport – ok to try a second if parents can manage the rigor but one primary commitment allows for greater engagement in practice/game schedules and at least some needed downtime for kids.
  4. An artistic endeavor – music, art or just free time away from electronics to explore the right hemisphere!
  5. Family dinner – set time (almost every night of the week) to talk to your kids. Kids should help clear the table, feed or walk the dogs etc – something small but valuable to set the precedent that we have to take care of each other and our homes.
  6. Sleep is crucial – goal of 8 hours for our big kids – enforce it… If sports and homework are too intense and your child is up until 11 nightly and waking at 5 for sports – they are chronically tired. Something has to give… Academics matter most so sports may have to go to the back burner. A lot of our kids think they are athletic scholarship contenders but the data says otherwise. Don’t let your kids underestimate themselves academically.
  7. Breakfast matters – protein-rich breakfast daily – carbs without a protein won’t give them enough sustenance to see the morning through

Hope my “house rules” help you prepare a list of your own!

Follow the link below to watch the news clip:

http://www.wfaa.com/news/health/finding-the-line-between-busy-and-burnout-for-kids/302005781