How do we avoid overscheduling our kids' activities?
The good news is that there are numerous activities available to kids nowadays. The bad news is that there are numerous activities available to kids nowadays. It is difficult to pick and choose sometimes because as parents, we want to raise well-rounded kids. I recommend no more than one major activity that may meet several times a week (such as sports, play rehearsal, etc.) and one other activity (such as music/art lessons, scouts, youth group, etc.) that meets less often. Kids need time to breathe and just chill. Try not to schedule more than one activity after school each day, and leave one free afternoon a week for unstructured, spontaneous time.
Early in their lives, you will begin to see the kinds of talents and interests your kids gravitate toward. Pay special attention to those rather than trying to mold your kids into an activity of your choice. Let kids have some say about which activities they take part in so you can maximize their enjoyment and participation.
And remember, take things one season, semester or month at a time. Teach your kids to stick with a realistic commitment and allow them to change activities once the short-term commitment has been fulfilled. If your child decides that she doesn't want to take piano or ballet for the fourth year in a row, talk about it. Maybe she is truly done with it, or maybe she just needs a break. Whichever it is, follow her lead.