Like many parents, my kids are interested in several different activities. I try to fit it all in and give them a chance to try new things.
Currently, we do swimming, lacrosse, ballet, ice skating, gymnastics, soccer and after school enrichment. Little Man and Cricket each have four activities going on.
Wow, that is a lot.
When I go to write it down, it seems unbelievable that I fit all this in–and only feel slightly crazy. We still have time for homework, dinner together and a more relaxed bedtime routine than when I was working. Well, I should say that most bedtimes are better.
But is it too much for them?
They love their activities. They don’t seem overwhelmed. I do give them choices and they don’t get to do everything.
My ground rules:
1. We don’t have more than one activity on any given day.
2. If the sport has both a practice time and a game time that cuts down on the number of activities that the child gets to choose.
3. It’s OK to try something new. I try to encourage them to try new things so that we can see which things they are both good at and interested in. But that might mean giving up something that you already like.
4. They each get to pick two. Somehow right now, they are doing more…but I swear I started at two. It is a slippery slop.
I know when Peanut gets old enough for activities we will have to switch up things a little bit, so they each get to do things and I’m not a crazy person.
There are so many activities and sports that kids can choose from these days. They have access to many, many more, at much younger ages, than I feel I ever had. For example, last summer Little Man tried Fencing — seriously, that was not an option for me in Alabama. We had football and cheerleading.
There is music, sports (SO MANY), art classes, after school choices, running clubs, cheerleading camps, gymnastics, martial arts, computers, Girl/Boy Scouts, skiing, horseback riding, etc. The question becomes how do you let them know their choices and let them try things — without it being overwhelming.? Or how to encourage them to stick with one thing, not to give up if it is too hard, but also follow their interests?
I’m taking it one day at a time, but it is a hard balance. I know many friends who have their kids in many more activities than mine and I know parents who only let their kids do one thing at a time. I guess you all find your way. You try and see what works for you — for your family schedule.
Hopefully we all find a little balance.