I have one son who is four. A lot of his friends do other activities and I'm starting to feel guilty that he's not one of them. I think something that would focus his boundless energy, like tumbling or karate or an acting class would be fun for him. And maybe there's a interest out there that we don't know about it yet because he hasn't tried it.
On the other hand, he's gone from home for 8+ hours at day care (now a 4K program), five days a week, and sometimes he asks me with a hopeful voice on the weekends, "Maybe we could just stay home today?" And frankly, the thought of *having* to be somewhere on a Saturday (because, I can't see evenings during the week working) isn't thrilling to me either.
Plus we're wanting to add a baby into the mix, as we're TTC...oy.
Does anyone else feel like a slacker? I know that eventually there will be school-related activities and such. I'm just not ready for it.
WOHM to Leo (4/08) and enjoying the journey with DH
Announcing the arrival of Clara in August 2013!
Our boys (3yrs & 19mths) are normally enrolled one 1 extra curricular a week - and I find it a huge commitment!
One good compromise I’ve found works well for us is buying memberships to several large attractions in our city. For example, memberships to the zoo, science centre, museum, etc. We make an (educational) day of it, but are not committed to going every week at a certain time. Plus many places offer ‘members only’ one-time events that we often sign up for. This allows for a structured environment that allows our boys to interact with others, much as they would experience in an extra curricular activity, but I like that there is no commitment to return again and again. This way we can have a lazy weekend whenever we need it, and we are not missing out on a program we’ve paid for.
Happy wife of Mr. Rabbit; proud momma to DS1 (07.07.09), DS2 (02.11.11) and expecting baby #3 01.27.13.
I think four is a little young to be doing a lot of extracurricular activities, but that's just my opinion. My daughter will be four in 6 wks, and I don't have her in any extra activities (besides speech therapy). I like the PP's idea of museum/attraction memberships. If we lived in a bigger city, I would probably do the same.
Tired mama to my wild child
When my kids were 4-ish, one activity was usually all they did, if that. They need a lot of rest at that age and it doesn't do much good to be running around all the time on a tight schedule.
We definitely do a lot around our city, we have a zoo pass, have had the local science museum pass for a while, and we try to get out and do special things a lot, as there is a lot going on in our area. We did swimming lessons last year and it was just OK...he didn't like them, and it was early Saturday morning, so neither did I.
However, he does have quite a lot of drama pent up in him, maybe a little theater class would channel that energy towards good instead of evil. The upside is that we have a lot of classes offered through our local recreation program and they're quite inexpensive, so there's not a huge investment of money and they are usually only an hour once a week or so.
Thank you for your input - it's just so hard to find that balance, you don't want your kids to be over-scheduled, but at the same time, like someone said, we do have a lot to offer where we live that I didn't have at all where I grew up.
WOHM to Leo (4/08) and enjoying the journey with DH
Announcing the arrival of Clara in August 2013!
I think it depends on the child.
I can't really foresee having a 4 year old in more than one activity, but mostly because of my own schedule and my own child's schedule of full time daycare/pre-school plus the one activity. Any more than that and we'd always be on the go which just isn't our personality. But some people are awesome at being on the go all the time and are wired for that. So it just depends on what feels like the best fit for you and yours I think.
Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNM
DD ~ 1/7/09 DS ~ 9/22/10
My 5 year old is in zero activities. This is acceptable.
I don't feel like a slacker. I feel like I'm living my life. We can ride bikes, go swimming, visit relatives and friends, etc and get just as much benefit as any other activity. There is plenty of time for organized group activities when she is older.
We live in a place with tremendous pressure on children to find their "thing" very young. My 7YO plays soccer, and there already are scouts for the older competitive teams who are at our games. Some of the private schools here require that children choose a musical instrument to play in kindergarten. Our magnet school starts in 2nd grade. So it's pretty tough here to let your kids not do activities and put them in later unless they're naturally gifted or have no interest in being among the best in an activity. With that said, both of our kids are in gymnastics and soccer. DS will begin learning tennis in the spring. He also plays chess. DD(5) plans to try out for a theater group in the spring, and she wants to begin taking violin lessons. I feel chaotic a lot of time, and my weekends are spent doing lots of errands and organizing to make the week work. I want my children to feel that they had the opportunity to compete with other children in our area, though, so we commit to it.
We are a little crazy, DD's are signed up for all kinds of things. They are both very ambitious and like all of their activities though. They have gymnastics class at the same time, which is a nice quiet time for me to read a book or talk to other moms. DD1 started dance and gymnastics at age 3, DD2 started earlier mostly because her sister was already enrolled. I think it does depend on personality a lot though. I like taking the kids to their activities and being, 'on the go' all the time. We pack snacks, hair things, and homework materials in the car. The kids like it, too. :)
DD2 (almost 4): 1 saturday morning dance class (since age 2.5) and 1 thursday night gymnastics class (since age 2). She was also enrolled in swimming for a while, but decided she hated it, so we decided to drop it for a couple of years. She LOVES her activities!
DD1 (almost 7): Monday after school: violin class, Tues/Thurs afternoons: gymnastics team, Fri after school: girl scouts, Fri evening: ballet, Sat morning: swimming. The swimming is short-term, and she will probably drop that in the next couple of months, after she becomes a stronger swimmer. Girl scouts and violin are after school at the school, so convinient for everyone.
" rel="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/familybed2.gif"> DD1 12/05, DD2 12/08
Computer Engineer- I write better in 1's and 0's. ;-)
She is 6 now and has shown us that she is starting to feel restless and wants to do more so we spent a while evaluating her interests and comparing that and our family philosophies with the programs available locally. We settled on a class for dance and Pom once per week on the shortest day of school each week (they get out an hour early on Wednesdays and her dance/pom class is one hour).
One of the things that we have always done is just make sure the kids lives are enriching, and that we do things as a family. "Extra curricular activities" don't have to be programs, sports, or clubs. They don't even have to be the same thing every time. You can go to the library one week, go swimming, go to a children's museum, read books together at home, do crafts, have friends over, have a picnic out or on your loving room foor, or go to play dates. The important thing is just doing something different from the typical family routine once in a while. It doesn't have to be expensive or a commitment. Sometimes even teaching life skills to your kids can be enriching and fun! My daughter loves to cook and sew and knit.
One of our favorite things to do is go downtown to the square and play in the grass. We do this once every few weeks, and she gets a rainbow ice cream cone for $1.25. It is a very cheap activity and focuses on being out in her community, and there is no major commitment. We go to the park, or to the farmers market sometimes. We are lucky to have lots of local events we can take part in too, like movies in the park during the summer, and lots of farms to visit in the fall.
Don't feel like you have to sign your son up for an activity that he isn't crazy about just because that is the path other families have chosen. If/when the time comes that he wants to join a sport or a club he will help to let you know.
My 3 year old is taking a Judo class with her dad for 30 minutes every Saturday morning from Oct to Dec. She also attends daycare/Montessori 5 days a week 8:15-5:15. If she wasn't in daycare then I would put her in stuff as much as possible.
I am also too cheap to pay $100 a month for a 30 minute ballet class once a week.
we dont really do EC before age 8 or so.
Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012) Married to awesome SAH DH.
We have many friends who do a ton of ex-c things but we don't. Preschool and or K now is more than enough. The kids LIKE to not have anything to do as in sit on our bottoms and play legos for five hours straight on one of the weekend days. The other day I try and do something outdoors/athletic/brainy.
For my 4-year-old, we limit EC activities to one dance class one hour a week, which she started when she was (almost) 3. And that is definitely all she can handle. She also started full day Montessori school this year and initially had a difficult time getting herself together to attend that one class after a full day at school. She would plead with me to let her just stay home, and if I had to take her sister to dance class, she would ask to stay in the car while I dropped her off (which I never did!).
DD1 started the same way - one hour of dance one day a week at around age 3. At around age 6 we added a 30 minute weekly piano lesson. Then, the next year, dance got more intense. One hour turned onto 1 1/2 hour and the next year a pre-pointe class was added on a different night of the week.
So, in my opinion, it's better to introduce things gradually. Schedules tend to get more complicated the older they get, no reason to start the madness early!
PS: I also think greenmamato2 has the right idea!!