Soccer, basketball, baseball, drama, gymnastics, swim club, Lego club, band, club, karate, boy/girl scouts. These are the weekly activities (at least 4) of the average elementary student! So when I’m asked by a parent “what activities does Malaya do?” I reply, “band”(smiling as if I got away with a crime) and they take pause expecting to hear the rest of the list! I don’t know where the concept came from that you have to fill every waking minute of your child’s life with an activity.
I barely have time for the basics such as preparing dinner, working on homework, eating, bath time and maybe a little TV/ play time (I honestly feel like every night is a victory!) Children have the rest of their adult lives to be too busy, overworked and driven by appointments. The constant schedules are borderline manic and can be a lot of pressure for not only your child but also you as a parent. I feel that children should be about discovery of oneself and find peace and joy in simple things and connect.
A vicious chain of events begins when kids put pressure on their friends to join activities and in turn, the parents do the same. Be prepared to get the side eye if you decline because you are tired in the evening after a longs day's work and the last thing you want is another place to have to go! It may just be me but I "looooove" sleeping in on the weekends rather than waking up before the sun comes up just to drag/ drive my kid to another city just to run around half sleep all morning! You have to have down time to regroup!
When Malaya asks me to do others activities I give her the choice of stopping her current one to start another. This helps her to decide what is more important to her and she is more than likely to stick with it if she chooses it for herself. We often supplement other activities by doing things like free gymnastics where it’s optional if we go or not. We have to be careful not to burn our children out with unhealthy expectations of taking on too many things at once. It’s hard for me as an adult to live like that so why would I purposely put a child through it.