Raising Davis: Keep your child’s extracurriculars under control



Estimated Reading Time 3 Minutes

In order to enjoy one hour of
watching Davis play soccer, I
have to go through my checklist:
work through lunch so that I can
leave work early; wash his uniform
the night before; prepare the new
puppy for the game with water
bottle, poop bags, leash and treats;
plan an early dinner that can be
prepared, eaten and tidied up in 30
minutes; be sure his two teenage
sisters don’t have to be anywhere at
the same time, otherwise Paul and
I will split up to get everyone where
they need to be.

And that’s just one night a week.
I know some parents that juggle
their schedules four to five times
a week to get their kids to their
activities. They seem to thrive on
the go-go-go itinerary. Our family
doesn’t, so we have decided to limit
Davis’ extra curricular activities to
twice a week.

Davis also doesn’t like having to
rush through his evening either.
He is always so disappointed when
he comes home from a game or
lesson to find that he has time only
to shower and go to bed. “Aww, I
wanted to do something fun with
you guys tonight! This sucks!”
He says it every time. I agree with
him because I feel cheated out of
spending time with him as well.
I love cheering him on from the
sidelines, but, our time to get
caught up on the day and just relax
together is eaten up by the lightning
fast dinner, drive and activity
(game, practice or lesson).

But he does love his soccer games
and swimming lessons when he’s
in the middle of them. In the winter,
he skates and plays indoor soccer.
This fall, we are considering adding
music to the roster. Davis loves to
sing and has an ear for music. His
older sisters take singing lessons
so maybe they can start their own
group! Our family is also taking
puppy training classes so we can
learn how to deal with this little ball
of fur that has taken over the house,
and all of us, so that’s another thing.

Our goal for Davis is to give him
the basics in swimming, skating,
team sports and music. When
he gets a little older, we think he
might enjoy golf or tennis. Davis
hasn’t shown a real passion for any
one thing in particular but he is
enthusiastic about all of it. We are
enthusiastic too, but only twice a
week!

Expert Advice ~ Psychologist Sara Dimerman says:

Children, like adults, can feel overwhelmed from always being on the
run. By occupying our children every waking moment, we don’t teach
them the value of down time and of enjoying their own company during
quiet moments.

Having said that, activities outside of school can be really valuable.
Ideally, parents should explore as many activities as time and money
allows before their child goes into Grade 1, when both child and parent
may have more free time. After Grade 1, it’s best to refi ne the choices
according to your child’s interest and aptitude. Limiting extra-curricular
activities to two per week is a good idea. Religious or cultural lessons
may be a third, depending on your inclination and the age of your child.
Your child might choose one of the activities, and the second activity may
be something that you feel is an essential life skill, such as swimming. It’s
all about balance and what works for you.

Meghan Bradley is a full-time sales rep and mother of Davis, 7, and step-mother to twins Madison and Mackenzy, 16.

To read more of Meghan’s Mommy Diaries, visit raisingdavis.com or follow her on Twitter @raisingdavis.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2013.

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