Why Should Children Worry About A Work-Life Balance?
As this is Work-Life Balance Week, I was wondering if such a thing really exists for most people, and when I say people I don’t just mean adults.
Young people are reported as being more and more stressed as they deal with the high workload needed for the best grades. Many have several extracurricular activities that take up a huge amount of time. All these extras can make it even more difficult to catch up with homework.
Adults need to learn to take a step back and block out time in their busy lives to stop and just live a little. We should be teaching children to do the same. Perhaps it’s because they see their parents rushing about from full time job, to running the home, to organising the logistics of getting to five different clubs in a week, that makes them view that lifestyle as normal. Many teenagers don’t want to grow up – and who can blame them? They see all the stress and responsibilities without the benefits. How can children learn to have a work-life balance if their parents have none?
So What Can We Do About It?
Just as with any problem, the first thing to do is just stop. Seriously, take some time out to look at the problem, it won’t get solved while still trying to do twenty other things. It’s also one of these things that needs to be demonstrated to others. If you want your children to have a good work life balance, you need to have one first.
Look critically at what you are doing at the moment – what is really necessary? Is there a way to do it more efficiently? And a question that will perhaps scare the micromanager – could someone else do it for you? Spread out the chores to all members of the family. This has the added bonus of showing children how to wash dishes, take out rubbish, clean clothes, etc. All essential skills they’ll need when they leave home. Perhaps the parents could set up a rota for taking the kids to activities; another great way to lower your carbon footprint!
What About Work?
We all know the effects of peer pressure. If you’re not putting in the same hours as colleagues are you seen as a ‘slacker’? Clearly there are going to be times when work takes up more time than it should. Ask yourself – what’s more important: work or family? Maybe your family wouldn’t have all the their luxuries if you didn’t do the work. Be honest, though, what ‘stuff’ do they really need? Is your time with the family – real quality time – not worth so much more than the new phone or school trip?
Determine Your Priorities
So, work out what you want from life and don’t let the expectations of others control your actions. The way you run your life has a huge knock-on effect for your family and how they run their lives in future. Obviously there are times when life is hectic and you have to be able to cope with that. However, having balance, protected ‘down time’, just to read or talk or sit and think, is essential for growth and wellbeing. And that’s what life is all about, right? Or am I being naive? You tell me.