The Twinadoes have ballet and tap on a Monday night. It makes Mondays a very, very, very long day, but they adore dancing. Not only that, but they have blossomed in ways I never ever imagined. They get so much more from ballet and tap than just learning to dance, so the long Mondays and the running around and concerts, not to mention the money, it’s all worth it.
Ballet is worth it, but is it also enough?
One after school activity a week feels like such a lot to me.
Beginning school has been a big change in all of our lives and I’m hyper aware of not ‘over scheduling’ our out of school hours. The change in rhythm is not proving easy for the girls (as I suspected) and they are needing a lot of ‘down time’ to rest and recover, and eat!
More than that, I feel strongly that children, my children, need plenty of free time to just be children. They need time to muck about in the back yard and to play with their fairies, to draw and chat and just be. So much of their time is already taken up with school that I want to make sure that I don’t fill up all the rest of our time with ‘stuff’.
But then there is so many things that I think they’d like to do and learn. There are so many things that might be good for them to do and learn.
They would love to do swimming lessons. They’d promise to keep their room clean if they could do gymnastics. They are very keen to learn an instrument. And when I broached the subject of trying netball they were very excited, despite not having a clue what netball is!
I know they would enjoy all of those things, all of them I think would be good for them in so many ways… but it all just seems too much.
Some questions are easily answered.
Weekly swimming lessons are out, they’d just get too sick. Gymnastics is a no go, too expensive and it clashes with ballet.
Other decisions are not so easily made.
I’d really like them to learn an instrument and so would they, but this one seems easier to put off till next year or later.
Netball is the one I am really wavering on. They don’t have a specialist PE teacher at their school (they still do PE with their class teacher though) and their ball skills are pretty non-existent so an out of school sport would be good for them. Especially a team sport, especially for our girls. But another night out? Another activity?
So here I am pondering …”How Much is too much?”
This post at Zen Family Habits – Overcoming the Guilt of Under-scheduling our Kids had me nodding along as I read.
I know that my girls need some down time, some ‘be free to do whatever time’, but I’m also battling the ‘what ifs’…
What if they get to the end of the year and still don’t really know how to swim? Swimming is such an important life skill.
What if we miss the opportunity for them to start music while they are really really in love with it? Maybe they will never learn an instrument.
What if they miss out on a netball spot because we waited? What if they are totally unco at sports or uninterested because I didn’t encourage them to start early?
What if they aren’t as smart? sporty? musical? busy? as another child?
What if they could have been a brilliant musician/netballer/swimmer if I’d only let them try? What if I’m holding them back? Leaving them behind?
Of course logically I know that a lot of those ‘what ifs’ are silly. I also know that I don’t much care if they are not the smartest, most sporty, most gifted children (or adults) in the world. I love them and will be proud of them regardless. All I really want is for them to be happy. I also know they they need time to be happy….
So maybe we’ll try out netball if it gets off the ground. If they love it and if we can all manage another out of school activity without stress then fine… if not there is plenty of time.
There is plenty of time.
Plenty of time for them to try all the things they want to try, and to do all the things they want to do, and to be all the things they want to be.
Right now, there is time to just be six.
So what do you think? How much is too much for your kids?