From the Mommy Files…

How Much is Too Much?

Posted on: August 17, 2010

Now that my kids are old enough for “extra-curricular activities,” I wonder, how much is too much?

I hear stories of kids who go to 4-5 different activities a week. Other kids are involved in activities that require practice just about every weeknight, and even a weekend day. I’ve asked some kids if they are having fun and they often say “I’m tired!” Psychology Today wrote a piece about too many activities stressing out kids. It give me pause.

How much it too much?

BooBoo is 3-1/2. She’s been going to dance classes for about 1 year – one hour a week, once a week. She began preschool last term. She did fine with all that, though she did seem very tired on the day that she had school and dance class.

This year, she will be in preschool all day, from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm. Her new dance class is on Saturdays for one hour. Also, she will be starting piano lessons the week that school starts. One day a week, right after school, she’ll have a ½ hour piano lesson. Then there is practice time, of course. That seems like a full schedule to me.

Yesterday Boo had her last swim class of a 5-week program. As soon as we left, she asked if she could continue. I’d like her to, but I think she has a lot on her plate right now. This will be her first time in school all day, 5 days a week. I told her we’d “for sure” revisit swim lessons at another time. It’s a life skill, after all.

Last night, I was reading some flyers that were tucked into our church bulletin. One was for Sunday School and the other for afternoon Greek language classes. Boo immediately asked if she could sign up – for both. I told her she is already going to Greek school – her preschool is a bilingual program. She asked about Sunday School. I want her to go and she will go, but again, I think we need to take a step at a time, and see how she gets through all day school with two weekly activities.

“I want to go,” she said. “It’s church, Mom.”

The 3-1/2 year old is giving me the church line. Uh-huh.

How do you argue with that?

Decisions, decisions.

Someday, when the Bebs is a bit older, I’d like to teach Sunday School. I never went – my dad worked all the time and my mom didn’t drive – and I believe it’s very important for their spiritual development.

All of this is really new to me. We never did anything like this as kids. Since Mom didn’t drive, we had no way to get to any activities. We all had to help out too. Oh, the trials and tribulations of growing up in the restaurant business. But that’s a story for another day…

“Now’s the time!” You may say – for me and for Boo.

I don’t think I could add Sunday School Teacher to my juggling act right now. Perhaps in the future when the kids are in school, and I actually can work normal hours. You don’t want me to spontaneously combust like a drummer from Spinal Tap, do you? 😉

Maybe next year when Bebs starts preschool.

Then, I sit back again and think. How much is too much?

Are we at our limit for a 3-1/2 year old?

I don’t want to become a “hyper-parent.”

I want Boo to do a few things that she enjoys, and still have some time, to just play, pretend, read a book, draw – and just be a kid.

Now, after her camp experience, Bebs seems very ready for some structured activities.

How much is too much for a 17-month old?

We still have to work around Boo’s school schedule and activities – and Bebs’ nap. NEVER, I repeat NEVER mess with the nap!

How much is too much –  for Mom?

It’s always the mother’s fault! The moms always get blamed. Right? Well, it’s inevitable, so I’ll just go with what I think is the best way to preserve everyone’s sanity – and of course have fun. That’s the idea right, to learn AND have fun?

There’s gotta be a balance – for all of us.

We’ll get there.

3 Responses to "How Much is Too Much?"

I have a couple diffrent thoughts on how much is too much for the child. I think there are many diffrent factors that come into play.
1. What is the parent’s motive? I believe that sometimes parents put children in things to full fill things they never had as a child. They push their children too hard I understand giving your children better.
2. Each child is diffrent. My son is unable to be in anything extra at this time due to his Sensory processing disorder. I feel that our daughter is going to be much diffrent. Even now at 17 months, I think about a music class or swim class for her, she is for the most part easy going.
3. Guilt. I think that parent’s today put their kids in things because the child wants to. They don’t think about what the child already has going on. Most families have 2 working parents and the children maybe left alone or at the sitters for over 10 hours a day. The parent’t have guilt. I have been there. Giving my only child (at the time) pretty much anything.

I think that your 3 1/2 old has the right amount of activities for her. She seems bright and able to handle the activities.
I would worry adding any more she would be burning the candle at both ends. Plus what about you? It seems like you would be on the road enough during the week, that is exhausting in its self.
How long is the greek language program? I think that is really awesome that her preschool teaches Greek as well.
Yes, I think the future is good to be a Sunday school teacher for you. With the holidays approaching, I am sure you will have over enough on your plate. 🙂
I am excited for some day my children, doing things that they want. I am going to stick with you start it you finish it. Even if it gets tough and you don’t want to any more. Life is tough and you can’t just give up. You have to strive for the things you want. Things are only going to cost more and require more things, then they do now.

Thanks for your comments. You bring up some different points. We’re just gonna see how things go. I want her to enjoy her activities, not going just to go. Have you looked into any activities for your daughter?

Thanks for your comments, Kim. You bring up some good points. We’re gonna take it one day at a time. I want Boo to enjoy her activities, not go just to go. Have you looked into any activities for your daughter?

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