Extracurricular Activities - How Much is Too Much? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
nyssaneala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 344
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

We are starting to think about our plans for the fall, and I'm afraid that we are signing up DD for too many things. I have always been of the mindset that free time at home to play should definitely outweigh the structured activities. She's 4yo (5 in November). Granted, she is possibly a gifted 4 year old, with lots of different interests. She is also an only child and very, very social, and we do not have as many in-home play dates as we used to, since moving last year. I am working on that, but most of the kids she has become friends with have two working parents, and weekend play dates never work well for us.

 

When she was a baby and toddler, we did Music Together. That was the only 'structured' activity we had (other than library storytime, which I don't count).

 

This year she is in her 2nd year of Montessori preschool, but her first time going for a full day (they took away the 1/2 day option this year, which really bums me out, but not enough to leave an otherwise great school). So she will be in school Mon-Fri 8:30-2:30.

 

Then, we've got:

 

  • Piano lessons - We started these 2 months ago and she loves it, so that is sticking around. Music really does seem to be her gift, and her passion.
  • Dance - I have dragged my foot on this for ages. This would be the first time she is doing dance. She lost an interest in soccer in the spring, at that time she asked to try dance. In a moment of weakness (or strength for saying yes to something I didn't really want her to try?) I said yes.
  • Spanish - This is a one-hour, once a week immersion program. Her and I both really want this. She was in an immersion 1-day a week preschool before moving here, and she has asked multiple times when she can do Spanish again (she happens to have a close friend at preschool who just moved here from Mexico, too). We did a trial class in the spring and she loved it. Neither DH or I are bilingual, but I know the importance of starting a language at a young age.
  • Sports - She was playing soccer in the past, but this spring was moved up from clinic to an actual league. She hated it. So we are cutting that out, but now she wants to try tennis (my sport, which I've played with her a tiny bit).

 

Piano and dance are 30 minutes each at the same location, they can be scheduled back-to-back on the same day. Spanish is one hour, so that makes two days with after-preschool activities. Do you think adding tennis would be too much? I do, but at the same time I want to expose her to a new sport after her disenchantment with soccer. Wwyd?

 

When she's at home, it's mostly free play: tea parties, dress up, lots and lots of reading, puzzles, helping me make dinner, running around the backyard, going to the playground, playing with our cats, and occasionally workbooks (her choice). I just want to make sure I'm giving her all the free play she needs (and that I need, too! I get overwhelmed with too many commitments!).


 

I am also a lover of books reading.gif, treehugger treehugger.gif, and occasional soapbox stander! soapbox.gif

 

nyssaneala is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 10:13 AM
 
mkksmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,562
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It depends on the child, but I wouldn't do it for mine. Dance is a great way to exercise, so I'd let that be her more physical activity. There's no way my dd would have been able to do full day plus after school activities at that age. You know your child best. My dd was an only until age 5, and she loved to entertain herself and just needed quiet time alone to read, create, etc.

I would start with just full day school and piano since she is already doing that. Then I'd add more as she shows she is ready. I might put dance right before/after piano since it's the same day. It would depend on what our dinner time ended up being. But I would wait on Spanish and tennis eve if it's just a month to see how she is doing.

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
mkksmom is offline  
#3 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
nyssaneala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 344
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Yeah, I am a little worried about full day. It really isn't my first choice, but her school has a new director and they decided to cut half day completely. It is a great Montessori school, so I don't really want to take her out, plus they do 3 outdoor play times each day, which makes me feel a little better about it. DD also lets me know daily she is ready for it. Last year, there were only 3 kids in her class that left at the 11:30 dismissal, all the others stayed through 2:30. She always wanted to stay with the other kids. She misses kindergarten cut off by one month, and K is full-day here.

 

I probably will wait on tennis, you make a good point about dance being physical activity too! But Spanish only enrolls once a year, and it starts in August, a month before she goes back to preschool. It has 4 sessions, so I don't have to commit her for the full year, just the first session. I guess I'm trying to convince myself that full day plus 2 afternoons of activities isn't too much. It comes out to 2 hours each week, which is how much time we had to commit to soccer this past spring.

 

We are also planning a 2-week vacation to a Spanish-speaking country next year, and wanted to increase her exposure to the language before we go, so I have that to think about as well! We went to France this year, and while she had a fun time, by the end of the trip she was frustrated at not being able to understand what anyone was saying.


 

I am also a lover of books reading.gif, treehugger treehugger.gif, and occasional soapbox stander! soapbox.gif

 

nyssaneala is offline  
#4 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 11:07 AM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,668
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
That sounds like a nice balance of activities, especially with such a short school day. My dd was very happy to have an activity, and sometimes two each weekday at that age.
One_Girl is offline  
#5 of 15 Old 07-10-2012, 02:39 PM
 
The4OfUs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,897
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I would skip the tennis this year, too.  Even though my kids were full of energy and enthusiasm in the beginning of the year, I found them handling more than one or two activities out of the house every week, by mid school year, was just too much for them and it became more convincing them than them being excited to go.  For now, we do one active thing, and one artistic thing per kid, and that's probably the way it's going to be long term unless there's a really compelling reason to change that.  Sometimes there is overlap, like soccer ends mid September and ballet starts early september but that's 2 classes of overlap and we don't count that.  A full year or semester of overlap though, we wouldn't do.  

 

As others have said, you know your kid best.  Mine tend to really crave home/down/free play time once they're in the swing of school for a few months.


Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
The4OfUs is offline  
#6 of 15 Old 07-11-2012, 02:31 AM
 
AndreaOlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 106
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Has she tried baking? Might be a good idea for an indoor activity. Plus, you can tie in the language part too if you're trying Spanish recipes - counting, vocabulary, and culture all in one! (Not to mention some good food.)  Hope this helps!


Andrea Olson, DS 2.5 yrs, DD due 10/9/13

Author | EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy

Owner | GoDiaperFree.com

[I teach parents of 0-20 month old babies how to stop diapering
full-time and how to avoid...

AndreaOlson is offline  
#7 of 15 Old 07-11-2012, 06:56 AM
 
revolting's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Chicago suburbs
Posts: 1,248
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My five year old (also allegedly gifted according to school entrance exams, though I'm not sure about the validity of those tests) is in no structured activities right now. During the spring, she wasn't in preschool, but she was in ukulele classes. We also went to a story time once a week. That was it. I don't like a whole lot of activities for small children. I have two kids (5 and 2), and I'll say with more of her peers going to school, she spends a LOT of time with just her brother. I definitely have struggled with finding social time for my daughter without signing her up for a bunch of classes, and I'm not sure exactly where the balance is...but, I know that my daughter is fine doing a whole lot less stuff out of the house. We also straight up don't have the money for all of that either, so that's definitely an influence for us.

 

I think more generally, what are your goals as a parent? I personally want lots of time together as a family, lots of time in free play, and lots of time in nature, and I think that our routine does a pretty good job of reflecting these values. It seems like you value early language and music exposure, so I think keeping piano and Spanish makes sense. (Though I will say I'm a pretty musical person; my daughter is not super musical, but I have to say I've enjoyed, and I think my daughter has got quite a bit out of, just playing music with me this summer.)


Partner to Rbikenew.gif ('03); Parent to T read.gif('07), Aviolin.gif ('10), and E ecbaby2.gif ('13)

femalesling.GIFhomeschool.gifchicken3.gifhomebirth.jpgnak.gif 

revolting is offline  
#8 of 15 Old 07-11-2012, 07:49 AM
 
34me's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,457
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would do piano/ dance on the same day and then Spanish on another day. Then since it's your sport play tennis in an unstructured way. If you have a day with no school, lots of extra energy, another kiddo that might like to play together just go out and hit some balls. I have 2 kids that do better with unstructured time and one who does better with a variet of structured activities of his choosing.
34me is offline  
#9 of 15 Old 07-11-2012, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
nyssaneala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 344
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post

I would do piano/ dance on the same day and then Spanish on another day. Then since it's your sport play tennis in an unstructured way. If you have a day with no school, lots of extra energy, another kiddo that might like to play together just go out and hit some balls. I have 2 kids that do better with unstructured time and one who does better with a variet of structured activities of his choosing.

 

This is exactly what we decided to do. I'm secretly hoping the obsession with dance fades away after one session. I am only signing her up for one month of dance, and will see what happens. So Music and Spanish are the only consistent activities during the year. I also realized that I have the flexibility to take a break from piano when we want to...I definitely see us taking a month or two off during the course of the year to help balance things out! I don't think there is any reason for a 4 year old to have to take piano lessons every single week for a whole year. So we will probably take September and December off, and just practice at home during that time when she wants to.

 

She has already progressed beyond the basic colors, numbers, animals in the Spanish language, which is why we are going back to a structured program where she can start learning to put sentences together. She has already surpassed my knowledge of the language!


 

I am also a lover of books reading.gif, treehugger treehugger.gif, and occasional soapbox stander! soapbox.gif

 

nyssaneala is offline  
#10 of 15 Old 07-11-2012, 08:47 PM
 
LuckyMommaToo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 2,523
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Although DS is almost nine now, at that age he would have been fine with Spanish once a week and dance/piano once a week. Basically, that's two hours of extracurriculars, yes? I think that's totally fine (especially for an extroverted kid). I agree with others about playing tennis informally with her if the opportunity is there.


Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

LuckyMommaToo is offline  
#11 of 15 Old 07-12-2012, 03:39 AM
 
BarefootMama99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I would skip formal tennis lessons at this point, and get going on the other activities and see how it is going.   You can add in the formal tennis lessons later if you think she is really up for it.  Otherwise, you can help her build her interest in tennis by having some special mama-daughter tennis dates.  Enjoy trying tennis together, make it light and fun.  This way, if she needs more down time, there is no commitment.  If she is up for tennis this week, then you can play together.  My girls LOVE it when they get one on one mama time, and they are not even away all day!


Married to the love of my life partners.gif (career navy), and Mama to 2 amazing little ladies - K~ (03/2009)blahblah.gif and M~ (01/2011)biggrinbounce.gif always to wish I had gotten to know our little ones lost angel1.gif angel1.gif angel1.gif   Reconfiguring my career track and working hard to keep my sanity through it all . . .

 

homebirth.jpgbfinfant.gifsaynovax.gifcd.gif  homeschool.gif 

BarefootMama99 is offline  
#12 of 15 Old 07-12-2012, 01:32 PM
 
peaceful_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: #12 Grimmauld Place
Posts: 4,940
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

If you really want her to have a physical activity, I would let the dance class be it for now.  If being in preschool and Spanish were both important to me, I would seek out a preschool that offered Spanish.  Or maybe let that be till K, since where I live there is a Spanish immersion elementary school.  That's an option you could look for I suppose too.  If I were talented in a sport and wanted to have my child start learning, at this age, I would just show them some basics and maybe save the playing with others for later.  Or possibly if she decides she'd rather do tennis than dance.  It does sound like a LOT especially for someone who is only 4.


lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
peaceful_mama is offline  
#13 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 10:42 AM
 
gini1313's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 339
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think it depends on the child.  If you listen to your child, I think you will do what is right for her.   My oldest just turned 9 and he needs down time to play quietly with legos or read by himself.  He does 2 hours of karate a week, which he loves.  Anymore scheduled activities than that (other than playing with friends) and he feels overwhelmed.  My 5 year old sounds more like yours, though.  She is very extroverted and loves being around other kids.  She asked to start dance last spring and wound up on a competition team this year.  I was really worried about the amount of dance she would be doing (2 hours a week this past year), but she thrives on it.  She loves, loves, loves dance.  I offered to her that she could do rec classes again this year if she wants to, but she loves dancing, her friends there, and being in competitions so she wants to do competition again.  For this year, that requires her to do 4 hours of dance a week.  We have talked about it and she is so excited to get to go to dance more.  She was also doing an hour of karate this past year, but she said that was too much (mainly because it was at 8:30 on Saturday mornings and she doesn't like to get up early) so we cut that out.  If she keeps dancing when she is 6, she will probably be doing 5-7 hours of dance a week.

 

All the dance has worried me because I am all for unstructured playtime, but I really felt like I would be holding her back from her passion.  She loves dance.  If, ever, at any time, she says that it is too much or stops loving it, she can either quit competition (which will give her more choice in how much she dances) or quit dance all together.  Another thing that has helped me be ok with this level of classes at her age is that she is homeschooled.  Her dance friends are all in school and some of them are struggling with the amount of dance, which she has not at all...  I am not sure what I would do if she were in school all day.  Maybe play it by ear, if she has too much, you could always pull her out of something part way through.

gini1313 is offline  
#14 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Tjej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: a beautiful place
Posts: 1,563
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Since you like to play tennis, you can just figure out a place for you and her to do it together once a week.  Pencil it in for a few weeks and see if you like it.  You can always erase it from your schedule if it is too much, but if it's on the calendar (like a class) then it may be more likely to happen. 

Tjej is offline  
#15 of 15 Old 07-14-2012, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
nyssaneala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 344
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post

If you really want her to have a physical activity, I would let the dance class be it for now.  If being in preschool and Spanish were both important to me, I would seek out a preschool that offered Spanish.  Or maybe let that be till K, since where I live there is a Spanish immersion elementary school.  That's an option you could look for I suppose too.  If I were talented in a sport and wanted to have my child start learning, at this age, I would just show them some basics and maybe save the playing with others for later.  Or possibly if she decides she'd rather do tennis than dance.  It does sound like a LOT especially for someone who is only 4.

 



Her teacher does Spanish each week in her Montessori class, but she has progressed beyond the basics. I wish we lived closer to an immersion magnet school, but the closest one to our home is a 45 minute bus ride away!

 

We already play tennis together occasionally (not in the summer....way too hot!), so I am going to just keep doing this for the next year or so, and hold off on lessons.

I decided to do Spanish, dance, and piano, for a total of 2 hours activity each week, and take a break from piano every 2-3 months. That's how much time we spent on soccer in the spring, so it seems to be what works for us.


 

I am also a lover of books reading.gif, treehugger treehugger.gif, and occasional soapbox stander! soapbox.gif

 

nyssaneala is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off