, Salem, MA


April 11, 2014

For parents, April is the busiest time of the year

April through June is that time of the year when parent burnout is the highest.

There are so many demands placed on children, families and, ultimately, parents over the next several weeks. When I look at my schedule for the week, it’s all I can do to talk myself out of a panic attack — and I haven’t done anything yet.

It’s like a two-month buildup that ends with a crescendo in June. It’s hard for parents to stay energized and keep their kids pumped for that long a duration of time.

What’s the ramp-up all about? Is it just our imagination? Are we just tired of keeping pace, or is it really more intense?

It’s real — the expectations are greater. Here’s what to expect and some advice on how to manage it:

Schoolwork: The high demands of the school curriculum increase. As a school psychologist, I know that school is more demanding from now until the end of the year. The early part of the year is review; after December, the new information that is introduced is greater and greater with more testing and projects, culminating in “finals.”

Extracurriculars increase: Plays, fundraisers, overnight class trips — they all culminate at the end of the year until the last day of school. That’s a lot of pressure in a 10-week period of time. For families with more than one child, demands increase exponentially by the number of children in the home.

Sports: It’s really true — as kids get older, their lives can appear out of control with commitments — if parents allow it. What choice should a parent make when two activities, like a sports practice and a birthday party, fall on the same day and time? It depends on the child and their age. A good rule of thumb is that one-time events take priority over regular practices. Keeping perspective is essential when making choices, and perspective means raising a well-rounded and balanced child.

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