Multiple After School Activities ~ Crazy Making or Valuable Experience?

I have always had a two activity per child rule for after school programs. Any more than two activities per child per week, and things get a little chaotic around our house. This has been an easy rule to stand by and uncomplicated to manage because Bella & Olivia have both enjoyed the same activities for the last several years.

Things are different this school year…

Bella and Olivia are figuring out who they are and what they love to do as individuals, which means their interests are expanding and they will not be going to the same places at the same time anymore. As they are getting older, they are capable of taking on a little more.

I don’t want to over schedule them, but I want to give them the opportunity to follow their individual interests. Bella wants to ride horses, dance, play piano, and take Spanish lessons. Olivia wants to play soccer, dance, and have lots of play dates. I’m not pushing them into anything. They are begging me to let them participate in all these activities.

Yesterday I told my friend, Karen, that I was heading into town to take my oldest daughter, Bella, to Nutcracker try outs. (This is in addition to the dance classes she is already taking.)

Karen said, “You do realize that if Bella makes it, your life will be even more crazy!”

I know.

What is wrong with me!?!

I can’t help myself…

I want them to have the same opportunities I had as a child, which is to participate in activities they like.

I loved participating in sports as a child. I think being involved in sports kept me out of trouble, kept me fit, enabled me to forge strong bonds with friends, gave me incentive to keep my grades up, taught me how to be a “team player”, helped me understand the importance of self-discipline and self-motivation, showed me what I’m physically capable of, and so much more.

Maybe this years busy schedule makes me a bad mom. I don’t know.

I do know that if their grades suffer or they start getting too tired and cranky, then we’ll make the necessary changes. As I said, I’m not pushing the girls. I’m allowing them to experiment with activities that may end up being their lifelong passions or then, again, maybe not. Who really know’s where a child’s interests may lead.

What I do know for sure is that we want to give the girls the opportunity to find out what their passions are, while still making sure we have enough down time to relax and bond as a family.

What do you think?


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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janell
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 16:00:33

    We have always had a two activity rule around our house also. It has become even more important as the kids are getting older and homework is taking a considerable amount of after school time. I am a huge advocate of not over scheduling and making sure they have a lot of time to play and actually get bored so that they learn how to be by themselves and how to entertain themselves when they are not busy. We also have a no screen time at all during the school week rule, which seems to give us so much more time to be together and get bored and then fill that empty time with fun games or conversations.


    • Liz
      Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:23:34

      I love it when our girls come up with imaginative games out of boredom! Although I don’t like the comlaining transition time when they haven’t figured out what to do with themselves yet. :)


  2. josephinetalepeddler
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 16:57:25

    I was always against too many activities as like the poster above, I really believe in children being allowed to get bored to develop their imaginations and I when everything is too structured, the imagination doesn’t get a chance to strengthen in my book. Having said that, somehow we’ve ended up with 3 activities for our six year old. She loves them all (swimming, French and Drama). Her school doesn’t offer the language and swimming class and her health therapist suggested the Drama for her big personality. I do feel a bit uneasy about having three but she’s very happy and always enjoys going to them. In holiday time, we do have swimming but nothing else and then I try to get her as bored as possible! xx


  3. Jenna
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 10:45:16

    Wow! This is an AWESOME idea! I may be adopting this same rule for my 5-year-old!


  4. Elizabeth Atalay
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:28:55

    This is a great post, and I feel similarly to the author about wanting to give my kids opportunities they are interested in. I always felt that while my kids were little if they wanted to play a sport, (one sport per season) I would sign them up while I could, and there would come a time when they decided they didn’t want to play or they don’t make the team and that would be it, but at least they would get the opportunity to learn team sports while they can. The problem is with four kids, and all their various interests it is also activities like piano lessons, art class and play practice, our schedule can get nutty! I feel like family dinner is so important as well and all the activities really make it difficult sometimes. It is a fortunate dilemma I guess that our kids do have so many options, I try not to take any of it too seriously and confess to even blowing off practices sometimes when I feel like we just need a family night to chill.


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