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Modern Parents - Messy Kids

Posted at 12:19 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 15:19:10-04

As a modern parent are you frazzled and bewildered by expectations for your kids? 

What do you want for your kids? 

Parenting has never been more challenging.  The dangers of over-scheduling, opinions about “helicopter” versus “free-range”, early academic pressures, competitive sports training all before your child reaches elementary school age puts incredible pressure on parents and kids. 

How important is free play? 

  • Play is essential for a child’s development. It contributes to a child’s mental, physical, social, and emotional well-being and offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children.
  • Important life skills are learned when children play. These skills will help them make and keep friends.  Make time to sit down on the floors with your kids and just play!

We all want our kids to be sports stars, but what are some of the ways we can limit the impact of early competitive sports?

Playing organized sports, excessive training or the demands of regimented play can cause burn out for kids if they aren’t playing for fun; with undeveloped bodies, a child can be susceptible to injury.  

It’s important for parents and coaches to be aware of potential risk factors like their strength and flexibility, and any specific pains, fatigue and reduced performance.  There are warning signs your child may be maxed out. 

  • To reduce these impacts, have your child participate in preventive training/fitness programs, take at least 1 to 2 days off per week, and limit their participation to only 1 team of the same sport per season. 


For children who don’t have sports activities there is the issue of over exposure to video games, television or other digital devices.  

  • How much screen time should a child be allowed?  
  • What can they play, or watch on the screens?
  • At what point is your child likely to become addicted? 

Rather than how much time, the question might better serve you as to what your child is consuming. Blanket rules don’t apply to all families, and rules may change from child to child.  Ask yourself some of these questions, and maybe you’ll get a better idea of what works in your home. 

  • Are your kids getting enough sleep or fighting about bedtimes? 
  • Are they eating regularly and coming to the table in a good mood or throwing a tantrum at mealtimes? 
  • Can they put the devices away and focus on other tasks? 

With a trend towards delaying kindergarten enrollment, data and research shows social emotional development in early childhood at home or at early learning environments is important.  Your child’s social and emotional health is just as important as their physical health. 

Preschool children are being expelled three times the rate of school-age children mostly because of behavior issues. 

This negatively impacts a child’s learning: routine and structure is disrupted, attachment with teacher is lost, and children miss out on having a space to practice interactions with peers. 

A repeated expulsion results in a loss a sense of belonging and creates a negative learner identity for the child, potentially leading to other issues and problems in adult life. 

To make sure your child is kindergarten ready, any parents worry about increasing academic pressure for kindergartners, and delaying school entry might help their child obtain an advantage.

By law, children must be five years old by September 1 of the school year to be enrolled in Kindergarten.

Being among the youngest in a class may mean that it is harder for a child to be the best performer in class, but most academic advantages for older students disappear by the third or fourth grade.

The YMCA of San Diego is dedicated to helping children reach their fullest potential. Building social emotional skills early in life will help set children on a path to success. 

  • 90% of brain development occurs in the first 5 years of life. 
  • The Y’s work supports early childhood educators, parents and children through developing these core skills like managing emotions and engaging with people in a positive way. 
  • Children learn through play. Through programs the Y supports parents and early childhood educators through the following ways: 
    • Understand what is developmentally appropriate at various stages
    • Set realistic expectations
    • Spend quality one-on-one time with children

The Y is part of a continuum of care for behavior and development services in San Diego County. 

  • The Y’s work compliments the First 5 San Diego funded Healthy Development services by going into child care and preschool settings to help parents and teachers support a child’s social emotional development. The Y offers additional flexible options in addition to the great behavior services HDS can provide.

Be sure to contact your local YMCA branch for more information about their Childcare Resource Service!