Doing too much! Experts warn about student overload

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- We could be overloading our kids! School social workers say they're seeing burn-out at younger ages.

Many parents want their kids to be well rounded, so they enroll them in multiple activities. But experts say sometimes, it can be too much.

“There’s real value in kids being bored,” said Leslie Carr, Coordinator of Social Work for Topeka Public Schools.

Many students feel pressure in excel inside the classroom, and in activities outside. But, Carr says all that pressure has children losing out on being kids.

“I think when we program and structure every minute of every day, kids are staying really busy doing lots of things. But they’re not exercising all those parts of their brain that are so important,” Carr explained.

Children doing too much after school could affect their academics.

“You feel like the priority is going to soccer practice or dance three or four hours at a time, academics do take a back seat,” she stressed.

She warns children’s brains are still developing, and overloading them could be harmful in the long run. She says watch for warning signs.

“Being anxious. Worrying about things. Being really stressed about things. Feeling sad and not wanting to engage in the things that they normally would want to do,” Carr detailed.

When you see those signs, listen. Hear what your children have to say and if it becomes too much, it’s time to make a change.

“We don’t want to just do a couple of practices and then quit everything. We want to teach them commitment, but when kids say this is miserable, we should listen to them,” she instructed.

It's okay if kids aren't the best at everything. Carr suggests focusing on their special talents and skills. It will reduce what's on their plate, and help them excel at what they enjoy.