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      Too many activities, too little time

      The change of seasons brings different associations for people, depending on their stage of life. For school-age children, a new season often means a new sport.

      In the Deien house, our 9-year-old will launch her final shot in basketball for the season on Saturday. The 13-year-olds laced up their running shoes this week for the start of track. Summer is softball, fall starts gymnastics ... you get the idea.

      The question becomes: where do you draw the line? How much extra-curricular activity is too much?

      It is not unusual to see a young girl who spends hours in dance class, soccer practice, Girl Scouts and piano lessons all in the same week. Or a boy who comes to school early for math club, leaves school early to get to a football game, and in the meantime is trying to keep up with homework and writing a research paper late into the night.

      In all the scramble, family time is often the sacrifice. How do you gather the family to dinner when everyone is stretched to the ends of the earth?

      Studies show how the investment in family pays off. According to , children who are more involved with their parents are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. But flip the switch. Kids get so much out of extra-curricular activities. Case in point, according to , kids who are involved in sports are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Both of these websites are devoted to helping us build stronger families.

      So how do strike the balance in your family? Leave your suggestions here, or join the conversation on our Facebook page .

      Take care ~Sarah D.