Dear Mr. Dad: We’re a pretty busy family. Our two kids are in lots of extracurricular activities (Scouts, sports, drama) and we also do a lot of things together as a family. Lately, both kids have seemed more run down than usual. I’m feeling a little guilty because I suspect that it’s because they’ve got so many things going on. How do you tell when your kids are doing too much?
A: Sounds to me like your kids’ lack of energy is the result of burnout, and I agree with you: the likely culprit is trying to cram too many activities in to too little time. But don’t beat yourself up too badly. Childhood burnout is incredibly common these days and with pressure coming in from friends, family, the community, and the kids themselves—it’s hard to say who’s responsible.