Is Your Child Exhausted?

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We all know the signs and repercussions of our own exhaustion– careless mistakes, not being able to express your thoughts clearly, crankiness. You may very well like biting someone’s head off if asked to do something, anything.

If you’re a parent, do you know when your child is exhausted? And I’m not talking about the obvious drowsy heads like when you’ve had an 8-hour day at Disney.

Did your child wake up at an ungodly hour to accommodate your work schedule and then head to school, after-care, dance class, piano lessons, homework time, and finally, Dad’s house for dinner?

Think about your child’s weekly schedule. How much time a day is spent on instrument practice, sports practice, homework, religious instruction, and chores. As they get older, there is the addition of test prep, college applications, tournaments, and perhaps a part-time job.

What happens when Mom and Dad are divorced and there is back and forth between homes, possible step-siblings, and parental tension?

According to Dr. Laurie Hollman, author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence and a psychoanalyst for 30 years, these are the ten signs to look out for:

  1. Increased crying and tantrums
  2. Acting out in school
  3. Not getting enjoyment out of certain activities they used to love
  4. Loss of appetite or overeating
  5. Telling you they are tired or bored when they’ve had enough sleep
  6. Increased fears
  7. Withdrawing into their rooms for too long
  8. Erratic sleeping or wanting you to sleep with them
  9. Losing interest in friendships
  10. Seeming to lose a sense of pleasure and vigor in general

According to Dr. Hollman, enriching your child’s life with violin lessons or art classes is not the problem at hand. The problem is not giving our children enough time to just be kids– to play, act silly, build bunkers under the dining room table, and as they get older, hang with their friends. Dare we say—do what they want to do.

“We’re so goal oriented,” says Dr. Hollman, “everyone in the house needs time with no agenda. Additionally, parents need to curb their own anxieties about their children’s performance in their various activities.”

How should a parent handle their child’s extracurricular life? Here are six tips for listening to your child about their life outside of school:

  1. Don’t scrutinize and judge your child’s performance on their activities.
  2. Watch what you say about school activities, so you don’t push for a competitive edge too hard.
  3. Make sure they have free time to do what they want to do.
  4. Take a step back and don’t react immediately when you see puzzling behavior (“How can you know what to do about a misbehavior before you understand it?”)
  5. Collaborate with your child about which extracurricular activities they prefer.
  6. Value your child’s thoughts, opinions, points of view, and desires by listening carefully to them without interrupting until they are really finished with what they have to say.

Provided by Laurie Hollman, PhD. • lauriehollmanphd.com

Posted in Featured Articles


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  1. NYRR Open Run

    February 18 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am
    February 18, 2018  |  9:00 am - 10:00 am
    Conference House Park
    Participants are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the run and to leave their valuables at home – bag check is not provided. No need to do anything before the run, just show up. Open to all
  2. Animal of the Month Club: Bald Eagles

    February 18 @ 10:00 am
    February 18, 2018  |  10:00 am - 10:00 am
    The Conference House
    New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Join the Urban Park Rangers as we view beavers and muskrats in their natural
  3. Con Edison STEM Family Days: Wearable Electronics

    February 18 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
    February 18, 2018  |  10:00 am - 11:30 am
    Staten Island MakerSpace
    Children must be accompanied by an adult. Families are encouraged to learn together. Using conductive thread and washable components, make a tote bag that has a design that can light up. This is an electronic workshop as well as a
  4. Chinese New Year: Year of the Dog

    February 18 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
    February 18, 2018  |  11:00 am - 2:00 pm
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Celebrate the Year of the Dog with activities to promote safe, fun, and playful ways to spend time with pets outdoors. All well-mannered are dogs invited. If you don’t have a furry friend to call your own, adoption resources are
  5. Historic New York: The Greenbelt

    February 18 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    February 18, 2018  |  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    Greenbelt Nature Center
  6. Art Studio

    February 18 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    February 18, 2018  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
  7. Cinema Saturdays

    February 18 @ 2:00 pm
    February 18, 2018  |  2:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Watch the library become a movie theater and enjoy a film on the big screen!
  8. Cool School Holiday

    February 19 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    February 19, 2018  |  10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Free admission!
  9. Winter Olympic Medal Workshop

    February 19 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    February 19, 2018  |  11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Make a Winter Olympic medal. Pick up a timed ticket at the front desk; limited to 25 people per session.
  10. Krazy Kidz

    February 19 @ 11:30 am
    February 19, 2018  |  11:30 am - 11:30 am
    West New Brighton Library
    Join us for singing, dancing, coloring and stories. Meet other kids and their caregivers!