As a mom with 4 school-age kids and a preschooler, I know all too well the chaos that is after school activities. We also live a goodly distance from town., so I'm sure you can see why our weeknights are a bit busy.

To help ensure that the kids and I don't get stretched too thin I started a pretty strict rule about how many activities each child can participate in.

My children that are in elementary school are allowed to pick one activity a year. The girls have chosen ballet and tap and the boys have done football or wrestling.

Once my children are in middle school, where practices are after school and there are buses to the games, they can participate in as many activities as they want.

Doing this allows us to still eat dinner together as a family 5 or more nights a week, which is something that is vitally important to me.

It also ensures that my younger children aren't stuck in the car for several hours a day driving siblings to practice, or living off of drive-through food or goldfish crackers for weeks on end.

I do find myself wondering if my kids are missing out, if this choice is holding them back from being the star athlete they are destined to become.

So, like every other modern-day mom, I headed to the internet to find data to back my choice.

Interestingly enough, I wasn't able to find a specific number of activities that are good or bad, and I kind of love that.

The gist of most of the articles is that you need to pick what works for you and your family, and I can 100% get behind that.

Someone that lives in town with a small family of one or two children will most likely allow their children to participate in more activities. A family with a tight budget may need to limit activities to save money on gas and sports fees.

I did find some guidelines on that may be helpful if you're struggling in this department. Below are some things they recommend parents consider when scheduling their children.

  • Know your child: When it comes to scheduling, each child responds better to different kinds of structure. One child who is highly scheduled might do very well and another might need to dial it back.
  • Consider other types of activities: Parents shouldn’t forget that children can also benefit from self-directed activities and downtime. Perhaps a club like debate or drama club would be better than a sports team.
  • Step back: Understand your child and see what limits he or she has or doesn’t have. Don't be afraid to let them have a say in what they want to participate in, and really listen to any of their concerns.

Most parents understand that it is important for children to participate in after school activities, and to finish out a season even if they aren't enjoying it like they thought they would.

Dr. Bubrick (a child psychologist for gives a great list of questions to ask your child when thinking about their after school activities.

Can you still do your homework? Can you still get 8+ hours of sleep each night? Can you still be a part of your family? Can you still hang out with your friends? If the answer is ‘no’ to one or more of these, then it’s too much.

In the end, only you can decide how many after school activities are too many for your child and family.

But, I encourage you to step back and evaluate your choices using the advice above several times a year to prevent burnout.

More From My Country 95.5