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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Choosing Activities for Your Kids

family pictures 007

It is back to school time, or soon will be for many of you. So what is a mom or dad to do? There are soo many choices out there for activities . If you are not careful next thing you know your nights will be filling up with Scouts, Soccer, Ballet, Football, Cheerleading, You get the idea.  Pretty soon you are soo busy that you don’t have a single night free or any  money left in your wallet.
Extra curricular activities can be fun or they can leave a family feeling like they don’t have any family time. So how do you strike a balance? Before you consider an activity for your children, you might consider
  • Is this activity a good fit for my child? Some children enjoy sports, some enjoy more creative pursuits. Kids are happiest when they are doing something they want to do? Ever see the kid at football who is playing because Dad wants him too?
  • Does the activity fit the family’s budget? Some activities have a high cost associated with them. For instance hockey. Other sports such as soccer are more economical.
  • Does the activity fit the family’s schedule? Some activities consume a lot of your time. Many sports require multiple practices a week with  games  as well. You may end up gone 2-3 nights a week, and often Saturdays. Only you know what is right for your family. I personally prefer to schedule kids activities on the same night if possible. I would rather have three kids at practice or dance on one night and be a little crazy. This frees up another night for me later in the week. Since I coach one of my kids I can do this.
  • Does child need to be in EVERY activity?  I mentioned this before. I have three kids. I limit each one to one sport/activity per season. Now that two of them are old enough for school sponsored activities I do allow them to participate in those, as long as grades are kept up where we want to see them. However, my children participate in school activities knowing full well that I may not be able to attend all of the school activities if we have someone else doing another activity.
  • Can I simplify things by having my kids all do the same activity?  This works well for many families. Often you see whole families in Scouts, or a Sport such as Karate or Soccer.
While scheduling your kids activities keep in mind that kids do spend a long day in school. Mine go 8-4. They do need time to be kids. Perhaps the best activity is just to go out in the yard and play with Mom and Dad. In fact based on personal experience I would say it is okay to take a season off every once and a while. Just let the kids play.


Michelle said...

yeah, I think some kids are waaaay overscheduled. I want my kids to be well rounded, but you're right--they do need time to be kids! Stopped in from a weekend hop! Following on FB now. Don't see GFC. Have a great weekend!
Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life

Alissabeth said...

While we want to allow our son to do what he is passionate about, there will be boundaries! Unfortunately, he couldn't play soccer this year (he'd love the stimulation!) because he is only 3 and they don't start til 4.

Stopping by from Circle of Friends.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

We want our kids to be well rounded, but we definitely want to make sure academics come first. We are starting back up with activities this week, so we will see how things go.

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