Good Life

Fathering: Kids need to focus on fun, too

When I look back over my high school years, there are many fond memories. Sure, there were times when I had to study for a big test and stay up late writing a paper, but I was always able to have a lot of fun. As I watch my daughters in middle school and high school, I am saddened that they don’t seem to be enjoying this special time in their lives as much as I did. The drive to score high on standardized tests, the year-long commitment kids have in one sport and the several hours of homework each night make it difficult for our kids to enjoy their “dear old golden school days.” Rather than telling our kids to “work harder,” many parents today are encouraging their kids to back off a little and “have some fun.”

Action points:

• Less is more. Consider helping your kids schedule a more balanced academic course load. One of the best things my oldest daughter did last year was replace one of her courses with a study hall during her basketball season. One less class and extra time to do homework during school made all the difference.

• Use the summer. Many kids go from an extra full plate of courses during the academic year to an empty plate during the summer. Why not balance it out a little? Our kids actually enjoyed the summer courses they took and felt that they learned more by focusing on just one course.

• Plan some fun. Schedule a couple of road trips and a weekend getaway for your kids and family. Spread these out across the academic year so there’s something fun to look forward to each month.