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Managing an over-scheduled family

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    Smart phones, iPads, computers, TV, laptops. Babies as young as three months old are connected to mobile devices and with so many fun apps to choose from, parents say getting their kids off these gadgets is tough.

For five-year-old Reese Manuel and her eight-year-old brother, Aiden, there is soccer, ballet, piano for each, church, cheer for her and school mixed in for these busy kiddos. When mom, Shonda, put little Reese on the hot seat, she insisted she is not tired. 

"No," said Reese. "Not tired."

Shonda says in spite of the jam-packed schedule, the line is being drawn on doing more. 

"Right now, we're just trying to figure out what their strong suit is, so right now it's pretty hectic, but I'm hoping that in the coming years, we'll be able to narrow it down to one activity in addition to catechism and piano," she said.

Simplicity is what Keri Forbess-McCourquodale, a family and marriage therapist, says keeps kids away from the grind that can lead to unhealthy consequences. 

"Whenever they do not have down time, we see an increase in anxiety and depression. You'll see irritation; you'll see them begin to be apathetic," she said.

In the whirlwind of activities, time for the family still needs to be carved out. 

"What we know is that kids who eat at the dinner table every night do much, much better than kids that are blowing and going all the time," said Forbess-McCourquodale.

If that task sounds impossible, start with one night a week.

For the Manuels, that is every Sunday. 

"We do make sure that we eat together and we talk about each other's day and make sure that we're not just blowing through everything," said Shonda.

That is how the Manuels avoid burning out and stay fueled for the next busy day.

While it is important for kids to take breaks and not get over-committed, the same rings true for parents. Make sure that there's some time built into your day for you - even if it is after the kids are put to bed.

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