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Overbooked Families

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-Hi everyone, I'm Anne Ebeling. You're watching Parents TV. Now between works, school and all those activities, -Excellent. -Here we go Masha. -[unk] -Excellent job. -today it seems like busy families are the norm. But when do you say enough is enough? Our guest today is Parents Coach, Timothy Smith, and he says it all starts with the parents. Thanks for joining us Tim. -Good to be with you. Yeah, a lot of parents are feeling kind of stress themselves and we've researched them as a [unk] research fellow. We are able to ask questions to parents all over the U.S. and we found out that 72% of America's families with school-age children, 7/10 -Wow. -are feeling stressed and they're saying, "Hey, I don't have enough time to connect with my kids and I don't have enough time to connect with my spouse if they're married." So people reporting that we have a whole generation, both parents and kids that are hurried and disconnected. -So what are the symptoms then of a stressed family, of an overbooked family? -Well, you can look in your kids. Sometimes, your kids are irritable. Sometimes, they're not getting enough sleep. There's a lot of homework, there's a lot of schedules and you can actually see physical symptoms them too, irritable bowel syndrome. They can have headaches and lack of sleep and you can see all these and it shows up sometimes in their grade. It certainly shows up with their attitudes. -So how do you know when enough is enough? -How much is enough? It's a big question. I think for each kid is gonna be a little bit different. You might have one child that can handle a little bit more. You know, Colombia University did research on this as well and they found out that today's kids are basically overscheduled and feeling underconnected, another report called hard-- hardwired to connect. We're finding out that children and adult really have this hardwiring where we wanna connect. And so I like to tell parents. Sometimes, you might be doing more for your kids by doing less and we need to be available-- we actually need margins of time in our day and sometimes we can help kids really excel just by creating a little margins of time when they can say, "You know, mom I'm bored." I tell parents, "Hey, if you're kid comes to you and says I'm bored, you can just pat yourself on the back because you've created a little margin when they've had a time to reflect and rest and not feel always hurried." -So how do you balance that with, you know, the desire for them to be involved in activities and enriching their lives? -You have to be strong enough. You have to be courageous enough and have self-esteem enough as a parent to know that you don't have to have your kids signed up for everything else what other parents do. You know, a lot of times we feel like we're loser parents if we don't have our kids signed up for the six activities that everybody else does. Sometimes, it's just good to say we're gonna have one activity at a time and we can do that next season. And if you can be strong and courageous like that as a parent, that way you won't be tempted. You won't be that wimpy parent who says, "I'm afraid so I'll sign my kids up for everything." -Right. And you have a theory or you've got that comfortable chair. I mean, that's a big staple of what, you know, you teach as far as overscheduled families. I mean, tell a little bit about that. -Yeah, I called this the technique called the smiling chair, the smiling chair. And what you do in that is you get, you know, your favorite magazine, you get your favorite drink and you get maybe your favorite recliner and you wanna look available 'cause a lot of times if you have children especially if they're older, let's say 5th grade, on a middle school, high school certainly. When they're walking in the room, you just kind of give that look. Ohh, it's you again. You know, we sent them all these nonverbal, you know, messages that -Right. -you're irritating, you bug me. I want you to leave me alone because you don't say that, but that's-- what they read. So if we can be in a chair reading our magazine with our favorite drink, you know, propped. If they walk in, we put the magazine or the book down, we put-- and we just smile at them as they walk across the room -Right. -because so many times they irritate us. You know, our kids give us enough feel that we can be agitated 24/7. -All right. -So if they come in to the room and they see us smiling, they see us relax, they see us approachable and give them a positive vibe nonverbally, they're gonna be more likely to come talk to us. I was sharing this in San Diego and a mom told me the next day and she was, "I tried this with my 15-year-old son, you know, I was sitting in a chair, I had my drink, he walked into the room and normally I do [unk] Hohoho, you know." -Oh no. -Nowhere. No one. Leave me alone. Just grunts. He's a 15-year-old boy. Right. -Well, I just sat in my chair, had my drink. I said, "Hi honey." He just smiled as he walked across the room. He said, "Mom, are you okay?" She said, "Yes, I'm just honey-- I'm just happy to have you home honey. It's so good to see you." He went and got something in the kitchen to eat and he came back, sat down and said, "Mom, have you been drinking?" And she said, "No, no, it's just small iced tea." And so he said, "What are you smiling about?" She said, "I'm just so happy that you're my son. And we have a few minutes to talk." So he said-- He told her about his day and she told me he went on and on. She goes me it was the best conversation. Usually with 15-year-old, oh boy all I get is grunts. But they talked all about this stuff that he is concerned about. She said, "Tim, I think he talked for 5 minutes." -Wow. -For a 15-year-old boy, that's a long time. So try the smiling chair, relax, smile, you know, look available, approachable and try to look positive with your nonverbal messages. -Isn't that just goes to show not only in this instance, but in all instances with your kids, I mean, nonverbal communication is important, right? -That's right and play is too. If you can figure out something that you can do for play with your kids, you just have up, you know, the likelihood that you can connect because the kids economy is play. And if you can trade in that economy, this is fun and you can find somewhat it connect with them, you know, that's really helpful. Don't buy that quality time. You know, we're gonna connect more out of this conversation, adult eyeball, eyeball, you know, I've scheduled 5 minutes for you. That doesn't work with kids because you have to have big chunks of quantity to get the quality. -Well, thank you so much Tim for joining us and thank for that information and for more information like this, you can go to www.parentscoach.org. Thanks for wathcing Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, Our Families, Our Lives.