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One after school activity too many

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There have been some awkward conversations with the children over the past couple of weeks. They have revolved around the various clubs and activities they both participate in. Unfortunately, something has got to give and the activities may have to be rationalised.

learning piano. piano, after school clubs
Helen wants to start learning the piano, among many other things. Oh, yeah, and her sister is also developing some hobbies.

Both our daughters have swimming lessons. It would be difficult to bring these to an end. It’s a healthy activity that both children enjoy.

Helen is a really good swimmer and as for Izzy, well, her swimming teacher recently told us she is; “dangerous, more dangerous than a child that can’t swim.” By this she meant that Izzy is basically too confident. She has no issues whatsoever with jumping into deep water. We have, therefore, got to keep up with the lessons so she learns both how to behave responsibly and how to swim properly.

Helen is also a keen gymnast and is showing real promise. Again, she’s talented, it would be a shame to stop the classes. Her sister, meanwhile, is really keen to join the same gymnastics club and is almost old enough to have her name placed on the waiting list.

Helen also wants to learn how to play the piano. She’s not had the opportunity to learn a musical instrument as of yet so it seems wrong not to let her have a go. In addition, she will have the opportunity to join French Club at school next term. As we have French family and as I’ve been teaching her some French, I may pull rank and insist she joins this club to improve her language skills.

Izzy, meanwhile, loves the football lessons she receives at pre-school. Once more, she’s showing real talent so it would be a shame to stop.

Added to this, Helen, has just finished a run of free tennis lessons that she received courtesy of the Lawn Tennis Association. She did really well and wants to continue with them.

tennis, after school club, sports, sport, children
Helen, during one of her recent tennis lessons.

In the new school term, we’re potentially talking about the two girls doing gymnastics and swimming with Izzy also doing football while Helen could be learning the piano, French and tennis. Oh, and Helen’s also asked about re-joining the Brownies, something she gave up about a year ago.

It’s not simply about financial cost. In fact, some of these activities are free or very cheap. It’s the constant whirl of short car journeys, the impact on the evening meal and bed time. It can be quite draining.

I guess we’ve got a few more weeks to talk about all this. Decisions won’t need to be made until September.

As my kids get older, however, I totally understand why so many parents complain about the number of extra-curricular activities their children partake in. It really does seem relentless!

Can you relate to this? Do your children seem to participate in an endless stream of clubs and activities? How do you ensure you and your kids don’t end up doing too much?

8 thoughts on “One after school activity too many”

  1. I can totally relate! With my kids I felt like none of them were doing too much, but the impact of all three of them doing three or four activities each was huge. They all used to swim, but it’s been some years since they gave that up. The boys are Scouts/ Explorers and my daughter is joining Scouts in September. My younger son plays football, plus school rugby, which is often at weekends. I’m glad both boys have given up club rugby. My daughter has been doing five dance lessons a week, but it will be four in September (although back up to five temporarily as she works towards her exam), plus both my daughter and my eldest have been going to a tutor once a week!
    As you say, it’s a lot of time in the car and a lot of disturbed mealtimes, which isn’t good for anyone! But my daughter gets so much from her dance lessons and she has a real talent. It would be hard to give any of it up now.

    1. Yeah, that is the issue isn’t it? If your children enjoy what they are doing and have a talent for it you don’t want them to stop. It just seems wrong. When it gets a bit much, it upsets the entire family routine and I have noticed this as an issue over recent months. Oh decisions decisions, what will we do???

  2. This was a really interesting read. I took M to a ballet lesson once, and she seemed to enjoy it, but sadly we haven’t been back as she injured her finger and had to have an operation on it, and she just didn’t seem keen to re-join. When I was a kid I didn’t do any of these activities, yet I have seen the positive effects these activities can bring to a child’s life, as my husbands three children by his ex-wife have all played football. The one thing that was most noticeable to me was how big their circle of friends of was, and still is now that they’re adults. I’d love to take my girls to some extra classes, but they have such different tastes so we need to find some classes that don’t clash, and aren’t expensive!

    1. Ah yeah, the fiends thing is an important one I think. I know my eldest has made a few friends from outside school by going to one or two clubs. I think that’s important as it does provide an education about relationships. You are also put them into managed situations where they have to take risks. That is an important skill to learn. I suspect when your two start in year one or two the pressure to do more clubs will mount. Good luck!

  3. Because I work and therefore N’s in after school club it means he only really does clubs in school at lunch times (free ones varying from Lego club, circuits, cross country, crafts and whatever else he fancies on the day)…and swimming on Saturdays because he has to learn to swim for safety reasons.

    He did start the after school tennis club in the summer term at school (just that was a logistical nightmare because it finishes at 4 and his friend’s parents then drop him at nursery for after school club when they pick their son up until 5.30. But he’s now been referred to the tennis club junior programme which luckily is on Fridays when I do early pick up from school. It’s the only day we could do and I am worried that it’s end of the week after school when he’s tired. I’m hoping he’ll be fine now he’s a little older.

    I’d love him to do more activities purely to challenge him, find an interest, and have a wider group of friends than school (and farming friends) but it’s not possible unless the OH decides to do some pick ups and drop offs which is never going to happen. Someone saw him playing golf and recommended we take him to the local hockey club but that’s Sunday mornings and Sundays are our only day to go out and do things as a family. So that’s out (plus he didn’t want to). Then on holidays quite a few parents and kids said he was good at football and that he should try the football club at school. That would be manageable but while he now likes football, he doesn’t want to do club sessions.

    It’s a hard balance. I used to do lots of activities as a child – ballet from age 4, then from age 7, brownies/guides, ballet, modern dance, clarinet, then at secondary school added sports teams to that, and piano/saxophone. My brother did a lot of sport too. My mum didn’t work until we were older and then school hours, so she was a permanent taxi. With me working that just isn’t possible so N will miss out. At the moment he doesn’t mind, but it may get harder as he’s older unless it’s all through clubs at school.

    I guess it’s a toss up, and kids then have to choose.

    1. Every family is different and you can only do so much. I think Helen would like to do dance lessons but that’s only because she has a couple of good friends who do dance lessons and, like you, we wanted to broaden her circle of friends a bit. Also, this past term the number of activities has crept up and I have been a taxi. It’s actually been quite tough. As much as life has to be about the kids, a balance must be struck both for my youngest daughter and for my sanity!

  4. Pingback: Goodbye swimming, hello karate - Dad Blog UK

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