How much activity for kids? NAD

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ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
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How much activity for kids? NAD

This isnt really a debate.....but we could make it one!

I am wondering how much after school activity your kids do. I am having to register DD for dance in the next few weeks and her teacher suggested I bump her up to two days of ballet a week (they only do one up till now) so that is what I was planning to do. But when I mentioned it to DD she said she wanted to do Tap and Jazz, which is a combo class once a week. So I think we will either do two ballet and the combo for three days a week, or one ballet and the combo for two days a week. The other option is to not let her do the combo and just do the original two days of ballet.

I am worried that 3 days a week might be too much for her at this age (she is 6, going into grade 1), not to mention how inconvenient it is for me. Another Mom and I have discussed carpooling if she does 2 days of ballet. There is a possibility that Tap/Jazz will fall immediately after or before ballet on one day which would be ideal, but they dont decide the schedule until after registration.

This is the only after school activity we do most of the year as there isnt a ton available during the winter. We are going to try DS in Karate next year though, but they wont commit to keeping him since he is pretty young.

ETA: Sorry this is rambly. Basically I dont want to burn her out and have her hate something she loves right now. How much do you think is two much for a young elementary kid?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6542

We do piano lessons, church, zoo story time, and next year we will be doing a homeschool PE class. It is a little different for us though because most of those things can be done during the day while other kids are at school.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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"ftmom" wrote:

ETA: Sorry this is rambly. Basically I dont want to burn her out and have her hate something she loves right now. How much do you think is two much for a young elementary kid?

I do think it is possible to over schedule young kids. DH says he sees kids all the time in school who are so tired they fall asleep in class because they have had practices every day and then homework. There is not a lot of time left to play.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

Mind you DS is only about to turn 4, but we do one activity at a time right now, but it can be 2 - 3 days a week.

Soccer right now, 2 practices a week (only one required) and a game on Saturday. We rotate between soccer, swimming and t-ball. While I am on maternity leave soon, I have signed him up for summer swim lessons total of 3-4 weeks, 4 days a week. They are in the mornings so it won't be too bad.

I think it is whatever works best for your family's schedule and for your kids. When I was in middle school and high school I did dance 4-5 days a week plus sports and other extra curricular. My brother played sports. I have no idea how my mom didn't only feel like a chauffeur!

Joined: 03/08/03
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I really do think it depends on the kid. My daughter (who is turning 6 this summer) does well with more activities, more structure. My son needs more down time. It varies a lot!

And consider yourself too. My brother and his wife do GREAT things for their kids but I think they add a lot of stress to their lives by overscheduling too.

SID081108's picture
Joined: 06/03/09
Posts: 1348

For my family, I think 2 days a week would be the max at that age. But I agree that it's probably different for every child/family!

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3303

Warning, rambling information ahead.

I would play it by ear.

When Emma was in 4th grade or so, she was over scheduled and it was causing problems. She was taking a gymnastics class once a week. She was in girl scouts. She was in youth choir. She was taking piano lessons and swimming lessons. There was a point where it became obvious that it was too much. So we ditched the gymnastics and the girl scouts.

Fast forward to this year...lots of things change in two years. She is great about planning and scheduling her homework...at this point in time she seems to need less sleep (although that is likely to change back again soon) and she is just generally better at managing her time and has some very devoted interests. She has been dong more again. She still does youth choir and takes piano lessons. She did cheering which met daily over winter. Cheering is over but spring rec soccer is back in session and now I've signed her up for a tumbling class...because if she is serious about the cheering, then she will need to know how to tumble to do it long term. She's handled this year great. No major stress, homework done on time. Very happy....no signs of burn out. So we are going to carry on as we are. At this point i don't suggest stuff to her, we go with what makes sense given her interests. But she's almost 12...so its different than when they are little.

As of right now
My 5 year old. She has a swimming lesson once a week and dance once a week.

My 8 year old is only doing farm league baseball, which usually amounts to a couple of evenings a week. If she wanted to do something else like take a music lesson...i'd be open to it.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, both of the above were going to religious education after school once a week.

My almost 10 year old. Little League which is about 3, sometimes 4 nights a week. Guitar lesson once a week.

Cecilia(3YO) does nothing but I'm going to sign her up for swimming lessons over the summer. Summer sessions meet twice a week.

So while it all sounds crazy...its really only because there are so many of them. Aside from Emma most of them are signed up for one, maybe two activities at any given time, with the commitment in days increasing by a day or so every two years if that makes sense.

In my case, i would not sign up my 5 year old for three nights of dance a week. I don't think she would personally enjoy it at that point and would also feel the effects burnout. But with all the activities going on in my family, I also have to factor into it that she gets dragged around to other activities on a regular basis.

With all of that being said, aside from Emma who was busy all school year long, i actually scheduled it in such a way that Monday's and Fridays had no activities planned amazingly enough. THAT was a huge help. If i had all that going on above, but it was spread out across 5 days instead of three, it actually would have been more stressful for both me and the kids than it was with a few days off. I plan to do it that way again next year if it is at all possible. Unstructured time is important IMO.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

And consider yourself too. My brother and his wife do GREAT things for their kids but I think they add a lot of stress to their lives by overscheduling too.

I find it extremely stressful on myself, while the kids seem to handle it really well. For me though, i kind of have to accept it unless i want to make a blanket statement that no one gets to do any extra-carricular activities. I'm laying in my bed so to speak Smile

ETA: Kind of funny to use that idiom when i think about it...as I"m doing anything these days but laying down haha.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"KimPossible" wrote:

I find it extremely stressful on myself, while the kids seem to handle it really well. For me though, i kind of have to accept it unless i want to make a blanket statement that no one gets to do any extra-carricular activities. I'm laying in my bed so to speak Smile

ETA: Kind of funny to use that idiom when i think about it...as I"m doing anything these days but laying down haha.

Ha!

I think we are lucky in that there are a lot of things around here that we can walk to. The driving around can make you crazy. Juliet does yoga, that's a 5-minute walk, there's an Art Center about 2 minutes farther where the kids have taken classes after school, I think Juliet wants piano lessons so we'll try that next. But I see the stress it adds to my brother & his family, all the driving everywhere, and I don't want that! I probably can only postpone it for a while, once the kids get older they'll be into more activities.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Ha!

I think we are lucky in that there are a lot of things around here that we can walk to. The driving around can make you crazy. Juliet does yoga, that's a 5-minute walk, there's an Art Center about 2 minutes farther where the kids have taken classes after school, I think Juliet wants piano lessons so we'll try that next. But I see the stress it adds to my brother & his family, all the driving everywhere, and I don't want that! I probably can only postpone it for a while, once the kids get older they'll be into more activities.

That is awesome that you have so much so close to you...walking distance no less! Emma's tumbling class is about a half hour away from our house, maybe i tiny bit more. Thats the extreme end of our traveling. Baseball is the best as its local and some of the files are 7 minutes away, the furthest one away is about 15.

The driving around really sucks. I've always loved considering the pros and cons of city life vs. rural life (I love both)....city life definitely wins in this category.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3179

We're not even in the city! But our town is small and we live right in the heart of it.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

We're not even in the city! But our town is small and we live right in the heart of it.

If its anything like my sister's town...i guess in my head i still associate it with city living, even though its technically a town.

Although i used to live in Chatham, NY before i lived here. Rural village, but we lived in the heart of it and very much benefited from things being in walking distance. Actually, that setting was my favorite living setting of all.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

We keep things super simple right now. I believe in underscheduling. I refuse to live my life in the car. I also have the luxury of my gym where my kids can be doing activities while I am working out, so that makes things way easier for me. No way would I give three nights a week up to driving around one child for one activity at the age of six. Thats just me, though.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

Our school recommends no more than two after-school classes for kinder & 1st grade, and that if you have other non-school activities there is enough of a break for homework, rest & a good snack before the activity. At that age for Tiven, she had soccer (1 hour practice once a week after school, plus a 1-hour game on Saturday) and swimming lessons (one hour in the evening) and we signed her up for one after-school class both those years. For 2nd grade, when Tiven was 7yo, we added a second after-school class.

KimPossible's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

We keep things super simple right now. I believe in underscheduling. I refuse to live my life in the car. I also have the luxury of my gym where my kids can be doing activities while I am working out, so that makes things way easier for me. No way would I give three nights a week up to driving around one child for one activity at the age of six. Thats just me, though.

Do you feel that will change as they get older? I've had such a difficult time with this as they get older. Kind of like with the tumbling thing. I would feel terrible for not giving Emma the opportunity to do it, because she has such a genuine interest in it. The most interest I have seen her show in a sport.

On the flip side i'm hoping it starts to get easier in some ways as well. Because carpooling becomes more feasible and so many of the activities can be done completely independently compared to when they are younger. Maybe i'm just kind of in a 'crunch' stage.

I remember distinctly many years ago having a debate with someone here (pianomom?? or something like that i think? I could be making that up) about extra curriculars. And I passionately argued how extra curriculars aren't a necessity and that spending too much time on scheduling is bad and that you can create valuable and enriching experiences for your kids without sending them to this thing or that thing for $$$$ a month. Yet i find myself now between a rock and a hard place as my kids get older and can show me definitively that they want to invest time in certain things.

Joined: 03/08/03
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It's a tough one. If my kids started expression passion for multiple activities I'd want to encourage them....luckily my son is lazy. Smile

Joined: 05/31/06
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Probably. Luke is super athletic. Not being braggy, he is just a really good athlete. I think that he will excel at whatever sport he ultimately dedicates himself to. I also believe that whatever he ultimately dedicates himself to will reveal itself way down the road, and that these parents who are already single sport focusing (common in my area as young as six) are insane, good athletes don't need that and will suffer from that (IMO). I'm not putting my kids at risk for overuse injuries by playing year round sports or just one sport like I see so many of my peers doing. Its nuts and many kids come to hate the sport by the time they are actually scholarship candidates. That is not what you are talking about though, so forgive the tangent. Pet peeve of mine as someone who was a college athlete and who married a college athlete.

Yes, it will get harder as they get older, but like anything, only as hard as I let it get. I have little sympathy for my friends who complain about being in the car all the time, when its their own fault and they have really young kids in like 4 activities. Like anything (birthday parties, christmas presents, etc), when you set the bar to that level, kids come to expect it. My 5 year old is upstairs taking a nap, she naps because she doesn't know differently. She loves it and its good for her. She was in one art class this spring, and it ended back in April and we didn't sign her up for anything. She has thrived with all the free time, and I've really enjoyed the extra time with her. We cook together all the time and have spent a lot of time in the garden. Today we will spend the hot afternoon at the pool and eat dinner there, instead of having to run around in 95 degree weather taking somebody to one sport or another. I just see how relaxed we all are with less, and how it works for us. I really don't believe that any huge life lessons come from these 3 or 4 year old ballet classes or "soccer shots" or whatever program parents feel that they "have" to do for their childs enrichment. Truly I feel like my kids get as much or more out of being with my husband and I, or their sibs, or their friends, at those ages. As they get older we will allow them to do things that they want to do, and we feel blessed to be able to afford, but we will do them in moderation and with a mind towards the overall well being of the entire family.

DS1 really wants to play ice hockey. I have a good friend whose sons play. They frequently have 5 am practices and games out of state and whatnot. That simply is not something that I am willing to do for a 6 year old. I think that its crazy. I have no problem saying no and explaining why.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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"Potter75" wrote:

DS1 really wants to play ice hockey. I have a good friend whose sons play. They frequently have 5 am practices and games out of state and whatnot. That simply is not something that I am willing to do for a 6 year old. I think that its crazy. I have no problem saying no and explaining why.

Oooh, hockey is a good example. We said no to hockey too. Hockey is VERY big up here. Its the sport that, i dont' know, gets the most focus or holds the 'highest' spot in some cultural way. Aodhan has two good friends who play hockey and let me tell you, it was near impossible to ever schedule a play date with either of them. Aodhan wanted so badly to set up play dates on the weekend and you just couldn't! One of them, I think we successfully did it three time over the course of the entire school year. THe other...it never happened, and it was always because of hockey. And even after hockey season was over, there was another team he tried out for...which extended the season by another four weeks.

It was insane. These are 9 year olds.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
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The pressure up here to put all man-cubs into hockey is INTENSE. Girls too, plus ringette. Ice time at like 11:00 pm for a 6 year old?????? Get bent. All the prime ice time is taken by the bigger kids and men's rec leagues.

Kyla, if you're going by the Participaction recommendation for activity for kids we'd all like have to have them in some activity every.single.night. Jeez, 7 solid hours of physical activity a week is hard for a 2-income family. It's do-able, just really really hard.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

Ugh! I refuse to do Hockey, or Ice skating. It is just too much of a time suck!

I always said we wouldnt put the kids in activities unless they asked for them, but DD asks for everything! Up till now there havent been a ton of options though. For under school age, our town pretty much has ice sports, dance and soccer. When she started dance, she wanted to be a ballerina, so thats what we went with. DS is pretty desperate to do something of his own, so we are going to try him in the new Karate program next fall. They just opened up and he may be too young, but they said they would try him on a trial basis as sometimes kids his age are good, and sometimes they just cant pay attention enough. I could put him in dance too, but there are no older boys still in dance (they tend to do the preschool program and then move on), so I dont think he would stick with it. Karate seems more like something he would do for a few years and actually retain some skills from. Other than that we do soccer two nights a week, but it starts as the regular ballet season ends so there is just a short conflict, and this year DS is doing a 'mini sports' program through the city that teaches soccer and baseball skills as he is still too young for soccer.

There is so much more that I wish they could do....it is especially important to me that they learn to swim, but It is hard to find time to fit it all in, without over scheduling and stressing us all out.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
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Oooh, I love watching the little kids in Timbits soccer. They are so adorable. Like a little cluster of bees following the ball around. Smile Swimming lessons are mandatory for my kids, from September through March. Ben is like a little Pele. He is unbeleeeeevable with a soccer ball. Must be that low center of gravity. And Claire is built like a freaking gymnast - pure, solid muscle. She just turned 6 not long ago and she's 52 pounds. Well, maybe 51.9 with all the teeth she's missing currently.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

It depends on the child and your family. Yes kids can be over scheduled, but some kids crave the extra hours of activity. DS will do one sport and most likely scouts by the time he is 6. We have limited options in sport here, I refuse to pay the outrageous cost the martial arts school has here so that is out, I am not keen on rugby league and would want him to wait until a little older if that was his choice, so if he decides not to keep up with soccer there likely won,t be a sport. I am also confined by work and the fact it ios only me to run kids to activities as we get more kids and they get older, as hubby doesn't drive.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

It depends on the child and your family. Yes kids can be over scheduled, but some kids crave the extra hours of activity. DS will do one sport and most likely scouts by the time he is 6. We have limited options in sport here, I refuse to pay the outrageous cost the martial arts school has here so that is out, I am not keen on rugby league and would want him to wait until a little older if that was his choice, so if he decides not to keep up with soccer there likely won,t be a sport. I am also confined by work and the fact it is only me to run kids to activities as we get more kids and they get older, as hubby doesn't drive. Soccer is a killer though, all games are played 25 minutes away

Joined: 03/08/03
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Swim is the big one I want them doing. . .we are signing them both up at the Y in the Fall, but our sitter will take them after school, so it will stress her out but not us. Smile

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
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I wish swimming lessons were more accessible in my town for people who work. I need to put DS on the wait list for Saturday classes for once he turns 3, but I may not get in to them, they take friends, people they know, those who have been going to lessons prior and then anyone else. Sadly swimming is a much needed skill here and so many kids miss out. A lady at work put her sons name on the wait list to start at 3, he is 7 this year I believe and still has never received a call for a class

Joined: 05/13/02
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During the school year we just had Nathan (9) in two activities, and just one activity for Matt and Thomas. Nathan is in taekwondo, which he loves, and church choir. TKD has really helped his focus, so much so that we stopped his meds for ADHD. At first he was going to 3-4 classes a week, but as the weather has gotten nicer it's been more like 2 days a week. Matt is in the church choir, and Thomas plays in the handbell choir at church. Luckily all choir rehearsals are on the same night, in the same location, so I can deal with that.

Next fall Nathan and Matt want to play basketball with the local rec league...I'm not sure how many nights a week it is, but they both really REALLY want to play. The only issue is that dh works evenings/nights, so hopefully their games won't be on the same nights.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"ange84" wrote:

I wish swimming lessons were more accessible in my town for people who work. I need to put DS on the wait list for Saturday classes for once he turns 3, but I may not get in to them, they take friends, people they know, those who have been going to lessons prior and then anyone else. Sadly swimming is a much needed skill here and so many kids miss out. A lady at work put her sons name on the wait list to start at 3, he is 7 this year I believe and still has never received a call for a class

That sucks. We were on the wait list at the Y and we got in, and since then we've been able to register early enough. I think swimming is a much-needed life skill, period.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

Being In Australia it is needed so much. WE live a 10 minute drive from the beach so spend a decent amount of time there, my family has a beach house three hours away so we hope to spend more time there as well and lots of creeks around as well. Mt DS has no fear when it comes to water either so he really needs to learn how to swim. They do classes under 3 but they are all Wednesday morning so I can't go because I work full time

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 780

Jace is signed up for 2 sports classes at the YMCA. They are an hour long and once a week. I think it is perfect for him and he enjoys them. He is a natural at sports as well and has very good sportsmanship qualities. One class is basketball and claims he doesn't like it so I told him he has to finish up the last few classes and then I won't sign him up again. We will probably go back to soccer because he seems the most confident in it. I like the YMCA because it's not so competitive.. It's mostly just kids that need a nice fun group activity while the parents sit around and talk. Oh and the classes are cheaper compared to taking them anywhere else!

He used to take swim lessons but they were too expensive. I'd like to sign him up for lessons at the Y though, because they are much cheaper.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

Do you have a JCC near you? Many of them have pools with swimming lessons, even on weekends. You don't have to be Jewish or a member of the JCC but you will have to pay a bit more. Or ask how many people the school would want to do an evening or weekend class and see if you can drum up enough people to make it work!

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6542

"Spacers" wrote:

Do you have a JCC near you? Many of them have pools with swimming lessons, even on weekends. You don't have to be Jewish or a member of the JCC but you will have to pay a bit more. Or ask how many people the school would want to do an evening or weekend class and see if you can drum up enough people to make it work!

What does JCC stand for? Those letters mean Jamestown Community College to me.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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Jewish Community Center

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

No Jewish Community Centres here, I live in a small town and even when I lived in a much larger town no Jewish anything. The town pool will not run any more classes. They run some after school, but I think they may need to be 4 for them and again they finish before I finish work. Unfortunately my job does not really allow for a lot of flexibility, I am able to finish a half hour early once a week for soccer right now, but I am changing back to my usual role in a few months and a large portion of my work will occur between 2:30 and 5pm.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

That sucks. Here swimming lessons are first come, first serve and you can register online, so I have the day marked on my calender to try and get the kids in for the summer. The kids preschool also has a pool, so they get swimming lessons there once a week the year they are 4. It costs about the same as lessons at the community pool, but is so much easier for me, since I dont have to take them extra places and hang out with baby.

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