Are your kids overwhelmed and stressed? Are they running around to numerous after-school activities and trying to juggle homework and personal time?

Millions of children in the United States feel overwhelmed and pressured because of their overscheduled lives. Enrolling children in too many activities is a huge problem. We feel like we aren’t doing a good job if we don’t sign our children up for a variety of activities, exposing them to sports, culture, religion and everything else under the sun starting at a young age. But then the children are under so much pressure to compete with their peers and achieve “success.”

The Risks of Over Scheduling Our Kids

Sadly, this pressure can lead to troublesome health issues. In the U.S. alone, around 77% of the population regularly experiences physical symptoms caused by stress. Sure, a little bit of pressure can be a positive motivator, but stress that is chronic and left unchecked can have a detrimental effect on one’s health–high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and a whole slew of anxiety-induced symptoms like headaches and dizziness.

What We Can Do

Fortunately, there is a better way. To help your kids to grow up healthy, happy and relaxed, check out these tips for reducing school- and activity-related pressures.

Ensure They Get Enough Rest

One of the best remedies against stress is to ensure that during busy and challenging times we are able to give our bodies proper rest. This includes our children letting go of any worries that they have at the end of the school day and making sure they engage in activities that are pleasurable for them.

If your kids have a busy school schedule and an early start, they should get accustomed to going to bed early in order for their bodies to get the recommended daily amount of sleep–around the 9- to 11-hour mark for a young child. Experts suggest that children reduce their exposure to light before bedtime, so this means turning off all electronic devices at least one hour before going to sleep. Creating a comforting environment in their bedroom will also help them sleep more soundly through the night. If your kids are having trouble falling asleep, then it is time to find a solution to help them get ready for bed. Try a happy bedtime story, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and even snuggling to help your child wind down.

Add Meditation to Their Lives

Stress reduction has been proven to take place when we engage in activities that help us calm our minds, such as mindfulness meditation. This ancient technique that originated in India can help us concentrate better and focus on more positive thoughts if we practice it often enough. Engaging in meditation will not lead to a completely silent mind, but it will result in your kids being able to better control their emotions if they are going through stressful periods. There are so many ways to share meditation with your kids, whether it be through yoga, mindful coloring or a lovingkindness meditation practice.

Teach Them How to Balance Their Time Wisely

As parents, we need to learn what our children can handle and what they want–not what we think is best for their college applications. This does not mean you need to take your children out of all their activities. Try limiting the amount of time spent in extracurricular activities and choosing the ones they really love. For example, we decided that baseball was not going to work for my son because it required a commitment of three days per week. We also pulled my daughter out of a wonderful dance studio to attend dance at her school because it alleviates unnecessary travel time. Work with your children when making these difficult, but necessary, decisions. The more they practice how to balance their lives now, the better off they will be in the long run.