Won’t they fall behind if they don’t do gymbaroo, or learn to use a computer by three years of age?
Won’t they miss out if they don’t learn a language, or an instrument at age five?
Won’t they miss their chance to be a pro if they don’t start swimming, or gymnastics, or drama, or dancing, at an early age?
Won’t they be disadvantaged if they don’t go to the perfect school that has all the extra options and activities?
If you don’t give your child the very best of every possible option and extra curricula activity available, won’t they miss out and be left behind??
I confess… every now and then I fall victim to this kind of ‘scarcity’ thinking. I was sucked in to the hurrying and the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ and guilt until I finally stepped back for a moment.
My kids can’t do every extra curricula activity ever invented, even if they wanted to. We don’t have enough money, and we don’t have enough time. And bottom line… I just don’t want them to.
As a teacher I don’t believe that children will only be good readers if they are exposed to flash cards and reading activities before school age. As a parent I don’t believe my children will only be good at something if they start training and practising with the very best teachers at an early age.
There is plenty of time to try new things and practice those things that we have a passion for. If my children are going to be awesomely, extra, specially, fabulous at something, I believe they will be that good regardless of whether they started at age two or age twelve or even age forty. I don’t believe we need to push, to rush or to try and cram everything in now… there is time.
There is so much more to growing up than lessons and activities and extra this and more that. There is more to life than being ‘the best’ at something.
So I’m stepping out of the race. I’m leaving the extra classes for someone else. I’m putting a limit on the number of activities we do. I’m judging the worth of activities and commitments by how happy they make my children, not by how good they are, or could be at it.
I’m giving my children the gift of time. Free, unstructured, time to just play. There is always next year, or the year after, to start that class or try that activity, for now lets just enjoy some time.
What do you think?
Am I potentially missing an opportunity for my child to be brilliant at something by not starting early?
How do you balance all the opportunities and activities with time to just be kids?