Activities: How much is too much?

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.


6 thoughts on “Activities: How much is too much?

  1. andthreetogo says:

    It is hard when your kids enjoy doing so many things to keep from letting them get too busy. We had z in mandarin classes and ballet, along with playdates about 3 days a week, but now that she is in preschool we just do ballet.
    Each parent has a different style and a different amount of things that are possible… it sure makes life interesting figuring out what the right answer is 🙂

  2. freebutfun says:

    That is a lot, my kids are currently dancing and we attend a family swim school and I find 2 activities after work is plenty and on Thursday after Tuesday and Wednesday hobbies we are all happy to just chill at home!
    I think finding the balance gets trickier as i also want to have time to see friends, is that something you have to rule out with so many activities going on weekly already(or do you have more hours in the day than I 😉 )? We also have a few hobbies going on a more random basis and I quite like the choice whether to do music or to go out and ride bikes in the sunshine or whether to go to a kids activity gym class or just chill together. But it is an interesting question with many correct answers!

      • freebutfun says:

        Maybe the importance of different type of activities also depends on the age? (See, still thinking because of your post)

        I do like the way you want your children to be able to explore what they enjoy. I’d want to let mine do that as well but I may have to do it over a longer time span as I can’t imagine doing more in a week (the kids probably could…). Maybe there will be time for everything eventually.

      • momupsidedown5 says:

        I agree, age does matter. Right now Cricket gets a bonus activity because she can do it on her day off from preschool. Once the homework gets harder and takes longer, Little Man will have to cut back too. So, we will see! 🙂

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