The great debate – extra-curricular activities…

Poss with her cello

I spent an hour yesterday filling out all the forms that school requires for next year… There was book list order forms, school photo sheets (they do them on the first day back to ensure all the kids are looking their best), extra-curricular activity sheets and personal information updates…

All was fine (apart from my mini panic attack over fees, which soon passed) – except the extra-curricular activities.

At year three, there are more options than ever before. She already does piano lessons at school (which she has done for two years now and is very good), as well as Taekwondo and swimming out of school. Plus therapies.

But next year, she also has the option of doing drama club, adding or changing instruments, as well as tennis lessons and Speech (which is not speech therapy, but more like one on one drama lessons) – all through school.

Immediately she declared her desire to do all of it. Except tennis lessons, because that might be a bit much… Um, you think?

We whittled it down to a choice between continuing piano, or picking up cello (which she did one term of this year and loved), but not both.

Choosing between either drama club or speech.

And if she does all that, either swimming or Taekwondo has to go.

That will leave her with three. Plus therapies.

She thinks we are being terribly unfair. Everyone else gets to do what they want, she says. All her friends do *at least* four activities, she says.

I think she struggles some weeks to get through what she’s got now….

What do you think? How many extra-curricular activities do your kids do? What is reasonable for a seven year old?

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  1. We used to try everything, but I soon learnt, that way madness lies. After school both boys have had enough. CM does a sport (either Auskick/T Ball) on a saturday morning but apart from that we’ve cut back. Instead, BW runs/cycles with TS. I worry they don’t do enough, but I also know what happens when we do. But I’m still scared BW is missing out on the social aspect of participating in activities.
    Every child is different and some thrive on the scheduling. x
    Caroline recently posted..Daring to TriMy Profile

    • We have found any kind of team sports don’t work with Poss… Taekwondo works because even though they do it in a group, she is not relied upon to do anything other than work alongside the other kids. I think they get enough socialisation at school…

  2. Hi Renee, You asked. I’m here.
    Your child is known best to you, so I write only as an advisor who’s both an experienced teacher/principal and a parent/grandparent.
    1. Do you think Poss is up to these within the bounds of her history of ‘managing’ a lot on her plate?
    2. Do you and your hub think that Poss is asklng for the ‘lot’ as she is both a ‘high achiever’ and ‘wants to be same as other kids.’
    3. Do you think that you, her parents, can manage how Poss does, over the course of the year..the term…and so on, with more activities.

    See I have been no help…but I have asked questions you need to ask yourselves if you havent already.
    Denyse Whelan Education Specialist recently posted..Educator-Approved Gifts* From Santa.**My Profile

  3. It’s hard isn’t it. So it looks like 4 activities I would do the Cello and the piano. My youngest two are just starting with the afterschool activities. But my eldest who is 18 now coped really well with something nearly everyday of the week. She was an only child all through Primary School so it was much easier to manage when she was tired. But we did try to do only 2 sports at once and then something creative.

    I’m sure you know what is best for Poss though.
    Annaleis Topham recently posted..Plastic FantasticMy Profile

    • Thanks Annaleis… Poss wants to do everything, but I think her eyes are bigger than her stomach, so to speak. She gets so tired – but at least some of these activities would be during school hours, which would help. The only child thing does help though – at least running one kid around is a bit easier!

  4. The thing that leaps out for me is “and therapies”

    Because therapy is huge and mentally/emotionally exhausting.

    Annie in grade 3 does

    Swimming twice a week. Currently 30 min lessons but she is going up to squad soon. They swim for an hour each session.
    Taekwondo once a week.
    Music group at school one afternoon a week.

    School run clubs for the grade 3-6 students on Thursday afternoons. Annie is doing photography.

    Then there is the school run social skills group.

    Speech therapy once a fortnight and psych on the alternating fortnight.

    I can barely cope with the running around, it stretches me too much, preparing to go to these things. Bags packed, snacks and the biggest stress of all, paying for it.

    Then Annie wants to have play dates, friends over after school and when do I fit that in?

    When do we do homework?

    3 afternoons a week we are out at activities. 1 afternoon is respite. That leaves only 1 day for unstructured play.
    Marita recently posted..Lest We ForgetMy Profile

  5. My two have one activity each. Soccer for Ms11 and cricket for Mr13.
    My daughter has just stopped flute, but may go back next year. Son also had drums, but dropped it when he started high school – he has enough homework to count as his after school activity!
    I am a huge believer in free time. I know all children are different and cope in different ways, but for my 2, less is best.
    You know Poss better than anyone else, and need to be guided by what you think best. Children (and adults) need down time to process. All of us do. For me, over scheduling can lead to things not being processed enough, or at all really.
    I know some children seek the comfort of scheduling and routine – knowing what happens when, gives more sense of being in control. For my two, it brings a sense of being overwhelmed and over tired.
    I am no help at all am I really. Go with your gut is my best advice.
    Naomi recently posted..The Folly. Part Two.My Profile

  6. Wow, so lucky the school offers so many amazing things! Sounds like a lot too me though! x
    jody recently posted..Down That Little LaneMy Profile

    • We are lucky – they are big on the extra-curricular activities… And I think the fact that Poss is curled up in a ball on the floor as I type shows it’s probably too much…

  7. Hmmm, I have no idea…! As few as you can possibly do?! All that structure and activity and stimulation might be a bit much… You know, I have no idea… I guess you can only try the things she says she’s interested in now then drop them if it’s too much? xx
    Kate Sins recently posted..{blow by blow} my weekendMy Profile

    • I think there will be a bit of that. Suck and see. She is pretty keen to keep up with it all… we will see I guess..

  8. From past experience, you need to not only take into account what your child can cope with, but with what the family can cope with. It can add needless extra stress and anxiety to every day when you have to dart from here to there. For first year of school, I don’t let my kids do anything extra besides swimming lessons – after that – I allow up to two at any one time.

    Although you want to give your child the best, and let them achieve all they would like to achieve, sometimes you just have to say “NO”. And allow for time for them to just ‘be’ and have the odd friend over on a casual basis. I know I have stopped asking some kids over because it seems every time we ask – they have something else on (pretty much everyday) – We just ended up giving up!

    But, at the end of the day – you know what your child can and cannot handle – and also what you can handle!
    Ash K recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – ChesterMy Profile

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