Are Your Kids Enrolled in Extra-Curricular Activities?

by Melanie Edwards on December 2, 2009 · 12 comments

in Parenting,preschoolers

Growing up, I never participated in extra-curricular activities such as dance class, little league sports, or anything of the sort. While my friends were off learning ballet, tap, and jazz, I was at home. Doing homework. Or maybe chores. It’s not something I ever got to experience as a child.

I try hard not to live vicariously through my daughter. I want to enroll her in all kinds of classes. Thankfully (in this case), we haven’t had the opportunity to sign her up just yet. I say thankfully, because I fear she’d be in way more classes than any preschooler should ever be in at one time.

So far, my list of activities I’d like for her to do include:

  • ballet
  • African dance
  • Latin dance
  • soccer
  • karate
  • gymnastics

They’re all activities that my baby girl would LOVE. She loves to dance, loves to pretend she’s a ballerina, and loves to run around. She is at a prime age for trying out fun things and actually has the energy to do so.

The problem? Well, obviously money is a factor. These things can get pretty expensive. There’s also a high chance of overwhelming her (and us) by signing her up for too many activities at a time. And, there’s also the time issue, of course. We sure would be spending a lot of time driving from one class to the other. Though, I could use the opportunity to gain some me time. (Kidding!)

Are your kids enrolled in any classes, activities, or sports? At what age did you first enroll them? Did you set a limit to how many activities they’d be a part of? Let’s open it up for discussion in the comments and see what everyone thinks.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Evelyn December 2, 2009 at 2:28 am

I, like you, did not get to experience much of extracurricular activities as a child. Even though I wanted to, I was just not put into anything. But, I digress…. We put Alexandra in Ballet at 4 years old. She absolutely loved it. Since then she has participated in the popwarner football/cheerleader assocation of Winter Park and has grown to love doing that. I am so thrilled we find things to keep her busy because in the end, I think she will thank me for it. I want to give her things that I was not allotted as a child for whatever reasons. I don’t want her to say “I never got the chance.” So, even though sometimes it’s a hassel for us to make sure she gets to cheer practice and games, it is a definately worth it seeing her “perform.” A couple years ago they cheered at the bowl game we had at the Citrus Bowl in front of tens of thousands of people. That takes guts at such a young age, so not only are extracurricular activies physically rewarding, they are also instilling confidence in her that she would not gain by sitting at home. Hope this helps.

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2 Melanie (ModernMami) December 3, 2009 at 9:27 am

@Evelyn, That’s so great for her! I’m sure we’ll enroll her in something, it’s just a matter of choosing which one will be first. Glad Alexandra is gaining confidence too, cause that’s so important for little girls.

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3 Nicole December 3, 2009 at 1:09 am

Your childhood sounds like mine. I can’t swim, flip or play an instrument. I have three children and my oldest started playing sports in 6th grade. Only 1 sport per season. My son is 8 and he hasn’t started yet. He needs us to keep our eye on him. So, i’m hoping by 6th grade he’ll be ready too. My youngest is 2 & we haven’t started yet. We do believe in 1 sport at a time. I’m not living out my car. @ Evelyn those are some great tips and ideas. My daughter is very confident and I think it also makes them humble.

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4 Melanie (ModernMami) December 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

@Nicole, I agree. I don’t want to live in the car either. One sport at a time sounds reasonable and manageable.

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5 pixielation December 3, 2009 at 8:46 am

I did extra curricular things when I was a child – ballet, little athletics, guides, flute lessons, piano lessons.

I think my mother lived vicariously through me… as she was only allowed 1 thing when she was a child.

Now both of my girls do quite a bit – ballet, drama, swimming lessons and tennis lessons. It’s hard to fit it all in.

Recently the older one was picked for diving, and we went off to crystal palace to be “tested” for it. She got through that test and offered lessons, which we ended up not doing. Even though it was subsidised, we simply couldn’t afford to pay for two sessions a week (1 in the dry diving area, and 1 in the pool). It was all about diving for the olympics, and she really really wanted to do it. The dry training area was on trampolines. I am sure it would have been a load of fun.

But in the long run, it would have been a lot of work for maybe no outcome. I don’t have any desire to push her towards being an olympian. And they said that the training as they got older would be at least 5 sessions a week. That’s the kind of thing you only decide to pursue if you have an obsessive passion about it.

I think that they should do more sport as part of the school curriculum though.

And my oldest learns the violin at school, but we pay for that the same as if it was outside the school.

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6 Melanie (ModernMami) December 3, 2009 at 9:30 am

@pixielation, Wow! Training for the Olympics is serious business…and expensive. It’s so hard to make those decisions! Sounds like your girls are well-rounded though. I did forget to include piano lessons in my list, because that’s something we’ve mentioned too.

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7 Renee December 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm

My son actually is not involved in any activities outside of daycare/pre-school. However, I would like to have him in music classes – in the past it just didn’t fit in our schedule. I think it is important not to over schedule young children. She has her entire life to be involved in activities. Maybe choose one or two.

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8 Melanie (ModernMami) December 5, 2009 at 9:45 am

@Renee, I can definitely understand it not fitting schedules. It’s also hard to know when they’ll truly be ready for it. I don’t want to waste my money if she doesn’t receive it well, you know?

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9 AnaRC December 4, 2009 at 12:17 am

Oh Melanie, our parents were the same. I learned to swim as an adult. The only extra curricular activities I did were out of my own initiative. Now with the kids, I take them everywhere. Maybe too much. Karate, Swimming, Soccer, Piano, Tennis. I’m a driver!

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10 Melanie (ModernMami) December 5, 2009 at 9:47 am

@AnaRC, Maybe it’s a Latino thing? LOL No seriously. It’s hard to find the balance since there’s so many great activities for them to do!

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11 julie diaz-asper December 4, 2009 at 12:28 am

when my kids were younger we really enjoyed and it less of a commitment to do the free stuff or day stuff (library, local museum, even whole foods). the programs were great and it was less stress on all.

try your local paper for event listings.

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12 Melanie (ModernMami) December 5, 2009 at 9:47 am

@julie diaz-asper, Those type of activities are great. We’ve actually done some of those, just nothing long term like a class.

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