Getting the balance of kids activities right can prove to be a bit of a nightmare. At which point do you slip from an encouraging parent to a pushy parent. At what point are you doing what is good for the kids or convenient for you as a parent.
It seems now that many parents struggle with the whole activity scenario with how much, when, at what cost and what is a healthy balance. Of course there is also the matter of quality time and finance. So how much is too much? Should we give our kids as much choice, as much variation as possible before we consider quality time at home? Should we try to compete with the kind of parents whose children do everything from the Cello to Japanese, hockey and finger painting and yet still seem able to squeeze in horse riding and baking cakes? Has this now become, like birthday parties and holidays, just parents competing for some sort of superiority?
As parents we can give ourselves a huge chain around our necks, dashing from school to the first of three evening activities, so we shove a healthy snack in their mouths as we leave the playground, tip them back out of the car ten minutes later whilst velcroing our little darlings into a tutu or strapping on the football boots. Half an hour later as the circus moves to the next class of tennis lessons or drama and you suddenly remember there is nothing to eat at home, so you dash to Tesco’s and back before the children emerge.
Eventually when you get home the kids are exhausted and hungry, as are you. The kids are fed, thrown in the bath and are ready for bed or reading or homework. Another day survived? Is that the point? Why do we find it necessary to ‘busy’ our kids, tire ourselves and spend a fortune, then complain, when we are all tired have no money and the kids don’t know how to amuse themselves anymore?
Should we look at it from another perspective. Michael Thompson, a Clinical Psychologist and the author of ‘ The pressured child’ once led the call for us to slow down but he also said ‘As a general principle there is a line between a highly enriched, growth promoting childhood and an over scheduled one’
So does it come down to choices? Many very successful highly driven parents want the same for their kids and its no longer’ clear your plate there are starving children in Africa’ its now more ‘go and practice your music there’s a child in China playing their violin’.
There was certainly a move a few years ago emanating from across the pond about how we busied our kids too much and maybe some of us do some of the time. Many of those voices have now reassessed and are no longer peddling books such as ‘The over scheduled child’
So perhaps if its good for you and the kids love it, why not? but like all things the concensus seems to be