This post can easily be called ""How to Teach Your Child To Just Be" or even "How to Get You and Your Child to Slow Down and Simplify Your Lives."
When my first child was young I was interested in having him try new activities so my oldest got to take part in all sorts of interesting and not so interesting activities. I thought I was doing him a service by exposing him to music, dance, gym, karate, baseball, art, etc. Then as he got older and my second son was born, I started to tone down the activities. I began to tone these down for a number of reasons: lack of time, lack of money, lack of physical energy on my part. Then subsequently I began to further tone down the after school activities because not only did I not see the added benefits of more then one afterschool activity, I began to see the negative consequences.
The negative consequences were that my children were not happy having all their free time taken up by activities. They began to be vocal about it and tell me all they wanted to do was play freely. The too many activities had gotten so bad that the entire family had become a victim to try-outs, recitals, training, games, get-togethers. We had no time to just be. We had no time to travel. We had no time to go on picnics. We had no time to just play. We were constantly running from one activity to another ...until we began to say no.
The easiest way to get your child off the fast track treadmill is to have your child select the one activity that he/she really likes and enjoys doing. Your child may even say that he/she does not enjoy any afterschool activity and that is ok too. You will be amazed how happy your child will be that he / she does not have to go to the umpteenth training session and can go to a friend's house to play or have a friend over to play.
The changes will not only relieve your child's stress, but it will also lighten your load as well both in terms of physical energy and in terms of costs. How refreshing that you don't have to drive your children all over the city picking up and dropping them off to all their acitivities. How fantastic that you can spend time with them and they can enjoy free time to just play as kids were meant to do.