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Thursday, September 8, 2011

When Quitting isn’t Quitting


This year my middle daughter decided to “quit” her gymnastics team.  At least that is how some people would view it. She has been on her team for 3 years now, and has done fairly well, advancing each year in skills and levels. This year she has decided to try something new. Dance afamily pictures 171nd Acrobatics. We have a strict one child/one season/one activity rule at our house. Not only is it good for our budget it is good for my sanity. Those of you who have more than one kid in more than one activity know what I mean. You spend your nights after school running around dropping off one kid at one dance, one at soccer and one at piano, only to start it all over picking them up in the same order. If you are lucky all of the activities are close to each other. If you are like me and live out in the country you drive 10 miles (or more) just to get to town.
I am a fan of kids not overtraining and overspecializing in a sport. Today so many of our kids train year round for a sport, whether it is cheerleading, softball, soccer or swim. Continuous training for a sport is not good for kids. It has a different effect on their growing bodies than it does on our adult bodies. Some of you might not remember the day, but when I was a kid, different seasons brought different sports for kids, fall was soccer and football, winter basketball and volleyball, spring, baseball, track, Summer swimming and bike riding. In fact, most kids took the summer off from organized sports and just played pick up games. While I understand we will not go back to those days, I also don’t have to let my kids become kids who over train and burn out on a sport. I would rather them be well rounded and as long as they are enrolled in a physical activity I am happy.
Over the years, my kids have participated in a variety of activities. They have all played soccer at one time, tried gymnastics, sing in choirs, participated in triathlons. So did my kids quit soccer, swim and gymnastics? No they are trying new and different things. In our household we commit one season at a time. After a season is over we evaluate and decide if a sport or activity worked well for the child and the family. Sometimes a sport or activity requires more than a child or family is willing to give. More time in training/practice; more commitment from mom and dad, more money than a budget will allow. I am a big proponent of supporting my children in what they want to do. BUT my support does come with a condition. If an activity is a hardship on the family, moneywise or time wise we will find an alternative. We as adults like to try new sports, or new workout classes. A well rounded individual will have be exposed to many things, not just a variety of sports, but the arts and cultural events too.
Now did my daughter really quit her gymnastics team? I argue that she did not. The season had not yet started for the school year.  While on summer  break she went and watched her sister’s dance class and liked what she saw.  After giving it some thought she asked me if she could take dance, knowing that she was only allowed one activity. She has on her own decided to do one semester of dance and one of acrobatics. Now we are talking about a child who would sign up for every extra curricular activity going if she could. I am not a fan of the overscheduled child. I am a firm believer that too many children do not have time to be kids, to just play. So what will we do with two nights free a week as a family now? We will probably be able to to eat dinner as a family, we will have time to make family memories with relaxing dinners and conversations together around the table.


HAQ said...

I agree 100% Lisa. With it all. Too much to mention, so I can't get specific. It's not quitting if you haven't begun yet ;)

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Thanks Heidi - Sometimes quitting is good for us. I am a fan of if you make a commitment stick with it, but what really got me was the coach's attitude when she called me to talk about it, offering enticements to keep us. No thanks, I am doing what is best for my family.

Gaby @ Tmuffin said...

I love that you only do one activity per season. I think so many people push their kids into so much that it's overwhelming for everyone. Plus, it's important to listen to what your kids want to do. I took dance every year for several years when I was younger. But just before I went on pointe, I "quit" so I could take art classes. And look at me now... I ended up an artist.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Thanks Gaby, I have always encouraged my children to participate in what they are interested in, (within reason). I am so glad that you "quit" dance so we could enjoy your art.

mom2three said...

Our daughter wanted to try cheering. We agreed to cheer for the fall season. Practice was afterschool twice a week and games were on Saturdays. The spring semester the games were in the evening. We live 30 min from school. It wasn't doable for our family. Everyone asked why she quit, but she didn't quit! She fulfilled exactly what we set out to do from the beginning - "one" semester of cheerleading. I agree, we do things one season at a time. My youngest and oldest are doing soccer right now. The middle is playing golf with dad when he has the urge to. In the winter the boys will try karate.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Mom2three, that sounds like a very doable schedule. Parenting involves so much more than be a chauffeur for our children we need to teach them to set limits on what they do. So many children are over scheduled and parents are burdened with these schedules.

Patricia said...

Mom and Dad always know what is best for their child and family. Don't be enticed or pressure to go against what you believe is best. Already following you. Visiting via FNFW blog hop. Stop by and visit if you have time.

Blessing to You and Yours,
Patricia aka Mamaw

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Thanks Patrcia, spoken like a true Mamaw or Gramma as I used to call mine. I think so many parents get caught up in trying to do it all for their kids and don't respect that they are still kids and need down time just to go play in the dirt and mud outside, time to go collect bugs and frogs, time to build forts and tree houses outside.

mmbear said...

Stopping by from the blog hop and now a new follower of your blog thru RSS Reader. I did not see GFC or Facebook so if you have them and I missed it, just let me know when you come over to follow me thru RSS Reader and I can come back and follow those also. Thanks and have a great day!


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