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Overbooked Kids and Nannies in Washington DC

For approximately 7-months out of the year, children are bombarded with pressures to not only perform well academically, but in many cases be ahead of developmental requirements. Children that maintain highly active schedules are faced with double the pressure to achieve success both in the classroom and in other extracurricular activities (i.e. sports).  In a study conducted in 2006, students experienced academic stress arising from both their own expectations to excel as well as expectations arising from their parents and teachers. Although, children typically receive holiday breaks throughout the school year, these breaks usually consist of other scheduled prep work for exams and sports competitions. The constant pressure received by children from various avenues in their lives can lead to diminishing outcomes versus progress. The Washington, DC area is known to have one of the highest populations of doctoral degree holding citizens. In short, many children in the Washington, DC are more likely to have high achieving parents that have higher expectations for them. Additionally, these same high achievers are more likely to hire caregivers that have received higher educations and enroll their children in schools with educators that possess degrees from competitive universities. Needless to say, from their school teachers to their sport coaches, children have no escape from the pressure. Summer time has traditionally been known to be a time for children to hit the local pools, eat pop-sickles in the sun and simply “be a kid”. Overbooking children during the summer can steal away this precious time for children. It is essential that parents resist their own personal fears of failing as a parent and examine the serious consequences to adding on pressure during the summer time.

Mental Health

As children are developing physically and cognitively, they are also developing emotionally. As parents experience life changes throughout the year, such as divorce, death and financial loss, children are processing these same changes in addition to managing responsibilities in other areas of their lives. Although parents try their best to protect their children from these stressors, children still experience the changes either directly or indirectly. However, children’s emotional resources are not as developed as adults and the compilation of stress can rise beyond their ability to cope. When children are so overbooked that they have very little time to process changes in their lives, emotional meltdowns and mood instability arises. In some cases, children can slip into bouts of depression, anxiety and even panic attacks. In many cases these symptoms may be over looked and nonchalantly attributed to development. For example, parents will often say “he’s just being a teenager”. Additionally, overtime if children do not take time to process emotional stress, it may manifest itself in physiological symptoms such as colds, migraines and fatigue due to a weakened immune system. Parents that hold taxing careers may not see their children often enough due to schedule conflicts and completely miss any changes. Families that have nannies/childcare assistance have an additional safety net that can monitor these changes. It is essential that families hire childcare works/nannies that are trained holistically. Holistically trained nannies recognize the need of the whole child and will monitor both physical and emotional changes that may be detrimental to the child’s well-being. This type of care teaches children at a young age the importance of self-care and taking personal time to maintain their overall well-being.

Less Family Bonding

Throughout the school year families are often busy with work and school schedules which leads to less time spent with the family. In many cases, families are often too busy to have dinner together. Research shows that families that eat dinner together regularly are closer and children have less behavioral challenges. No matter what developmental stage a child is in, it is essential that children spend quality time with their family consistently. This kind of consistency within the family is essential as children move through stages that cause them to question their identity in addition to receiving threats to their self-esteem. Unfortunately, the modern “achieving” world does not slow down to allow families to have dinner together on a consistent basis. However, this is an area in which nannies/childcare workers play an essential role in filling those gaps. As the saying amongst the wise states “it takes a village to raise a child”. It is essential that parents hire nannies that are not simply looking for a good job, but actually want to bond and grow with the family. A well-invested nanny will ensure a child is always receiving consistent support and bonding time at home. A good nanny will recognize the need to minimize a busy schedule that conflicts with quality time.

Cognitive Development

In a high-achieving world, parents are constantly in fear of not preparing their children to thrive in the future. In result, parents are constantly searching for athletic and academic enrichment programs to prepare their child to be the best and brightest. At the start of summer, parents become alarmed that their children will lose their sharpness and skills acquired throughout the school year. However, like muscles and anything else in nature, rest in essential. In studies conducted on the brain and studying, prolonged studying and school work without sufficient breaks leads to brain fatigue leading to memory loss and slower processing. Children that maintain highly packed schedules year round are likely to become fatigued and demotivated. This is a common occurrence reported by parents that are perplexed by the declines in their child’s performance from the previous year. A holistically trained nanny will recognize the need to adjust the child’s schedule to include a healthy amount rest/fun in addition to some educational activities.