Skip to main content Skip to choc.org search
Health Menu

Index | Subscribe | Blog

Health Footer Menu

Many kids have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Even when intentions are good kids can easily become overscheduled.

“There are a number of studies that suggest kids actually do need some unstructured time,” says Dr. Heather Huszti, a CHOC pediatric psychologist. Kids need moments when they can use their imagination, daydream and even goof off a little bit, she says. And no, this doesn’t mean parents should allow kids to play video games all day.  Instead, try other unstructured-time activities:

  • Going outside to play
  • Playing a board game

FAMILY BONDING

“Kids need some family time,” says Dr. Huszti. “If we find ourselves being overscheduled, we really don’t have that time to bond as a family and develop a strong foundation. Look at what’s important to your family, such as dinners or bedtime reading and carve out time for that,” she says. Make room for family activities at least once per week. Here are some family-fun ideas:

  • Start a family book club
  • Replace organized team sports with family sports

WRITE IT DOWN

To get a handle on how to balance your child’s social and academic calendars, sit down as a family and  create a schedule. “If you look at the schedule and realize we’re really cutting into homework time, or there’s no unstructured or family time, you may be doing too much,” says Dr. Huszti. To keep a good pace, have your child pick two activities per week that they really want to do, and you pick two. If something else comes up, take one away.

What Else Can You Do To Trim Your Child’s Schedule?

Approach the schedule with a “moderation” mentality. If you notice a decline in your child’s grades, or an increase in irritability or sickness, try taking them out of some activities and see what happens, says Dr. Huszti.

FAST FACTS

  • The percent of kids who wish they had more free time: 61%
  • Number of hours of unstructured time recommended per week: 2
  • The percentage of kids who said they felt too busy all the time: 24%

Meet Dr Huszti - Expert in Psychology

Dr. Huszti is a licensed psychologist and has been with CHOC since 2002. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Society of Pediatric Psychology. Dr. Huszti served her internship and post-doctorate fellowship at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Huszti’s philosophy of care: “I want to help kids and families function as optimally as possible. I believe that involves working with the whole family.”

EDUCATION:

University of California, Irvine (B.A., Psychology)
Texas Tech University (Ph.D., Clinical Psychology)
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (internship and fellowship)

Dr. Heather Huszti

Is Your Child Too Busy?

Boy looking up from doing his homework

These days it seems families are busier than ever. Many kids have too much to do and not enough time to do it. For some families, kids may be driving the schedule because they don’t want to feel left out. Teens may feel pressure to boost their roster of activities to get into the college of their choice.

Some parents feel it’s more productive to keep their kids constantly occupied. They might also feel that their kids will miss out on key experiences if they aren’t doing what other kids are. But most parents usually just want what seems best for their kids. Even when intentions are good, though, kids can easily become overscheduled.

Learn what kids say about being busy.

This is the age of being busy. Many of us live in busy places and have busy lives. Even the roads are busy as we try to get from here to there. Adults are busy going to jobs and taking care of their families. Kids are busy, too, going to school and doing lots of stuff after school and on the weekends. Sometimes they have a hard time expressing how they feel. Our partners at Nemours took a poll to find out.

Kids involved in karate

Knowledge is the best medicine. Learn more about your child's health in these features from the experts at CHOC.

Drowning Prevention
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children ages 1–4. Dr. Goodman says backyard pools are often to blame.


Kids and Melanoma
Orange County is one of the sunniest places in California, with hundreds of sun days per year. With that comes the need for proper protection.


Kids and Germs
Germs are everywhere, especially as we head into the cold and flu season. Learn how you can protect your kids from harmful bugs so they will not get sick.


Long Live Childhood

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram Snapchat LinkedIn YouTube