My 9 year-old has been pestering me to add soccer and ballet to her 5 other activities that she already does. She really wants to do them all but I am tired of driving her all over the place and so is her baby brother. What should I do?
skyesmama writes: I have a child who wants to do it all too! I finally realized 3 things; 1) she needs to learn to make choices, 2) she needs to down time to play and 3) I am the parent, so I need to make some of the choices for her or guide her in making choices. I found this really tough to do with my son, but in the end I was glad that we pared back the activities because it makes our whole life more peaceful and manageable. When my son bugs me about something new, now I tell him that it sounds great but he needs to think about what activity he’d like to give up next year, to do the new activity in its place.
Advice from Schoolfamily
TimPTO writes: Yup, I feel the same way as Rhonda. Like with much of life, balance is the key here, too. Helping our kids learn that is part of our job. We're the adults with perspective.
We certainly overdo it at times in our family, too, but we try to limit the number of activities per season. It's not a strict add-one/drop-one rule, but it's close to that in reality. The fear that we (actually I -- my wife is great on this count) have to get over is that our kids will somehow fall behind or miss out if they're not in every activity. "They'll never be a star swimmer if they're not swimming all year round. they'll never be basketball players if they're not on a summer basketball team. Etc. Etc."
If they find something they're passionate about and *they* want to pursue it and put in the time (on their own, too), then we'll definitely support them. Beyond that, dabbling in a lot of things and being good kids and having sane lives and not being all-american tiddly wink players is perfectly OK. And healthier for our family as a whole.
ErinTM writes: I am not quite at the point where my daughter can asks to do too many activities. But I have always told myself that as long as she is doing well in school and can up in the morning, she can choose what she does outside of school. Maybe easier said than done :)