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To wonder why we are making our DC do so many activities?

(132 Posts)
Happyyellowcar Fri 08-May-15 23:36:28

Chatting to some other mums today and a couple of them start listing all the activities their DC (3&5) do: ballet, gymnastics, climbing, swimming, theatre groups, rainbows, after school computer group & tennis were all mentioned in the space of 5 mins chat. I did swimming from the age of 7 and a couple of other activities until I left home. Mostly I came home, played out with friends or watched tv if the weather was bad. Why do some people feel compelled to sign their poor tired DC up to a zillion stretching activities from such a young age these days? Is it competitiveness? Who is benefitting here? AIBU to not want to push my DC onto this particular bandwagon?

nikki1978 Fri 08-May-15 23:40:11

Because we don't let them play out so much anymore but we don't want them sat in front of the tv all day?

My dc do swimming, yoga and ju jitsu. They enjoy the last two and i think.encouraging exercise is good. Swimming is essential in my opinion and they don't do it at their school. I feel this is enough but if they wanted to do other stuff which they sometimes do like stuff the school run then I won't say no if we can afford it.

nikki1978 Fri 08-May-15 23:42:11

But yes I agree they need time at home to chill and be bored sometime. I like to keep 2 days free after school at least. We do one activity on a Saturday.

NaiceNickname Fri 08-May-15 23:42:16

YANBU. Kids need down time too. There's a lot to be said for just coming home and letting them play with friends like normal kids rather than occupying all of their time doing organised activities.

DD goes to jujitsu twice per week, she doesn't want to do anything else right now. Pick one or two activities and let them be great at those.

WorraLiberty Fri 08-May-15 23:43:12

I've never understood it myself tbh.

But I guess kids are allowed to play out a lot less nowadays so they have to do something.

I think overly structuring a child's life, often means they don't learn to sort out their own 'social problems' without adult intervention, until they're much older.

Permanentlyexhausted Fri 08-May-15 23:44:05

You do what you like.

My DS does 2 extra-curricular activities because that's all he wants to do. My DD does swimming, piano, violin, Brownies, gymnastics, choir, a cookery club, and horse-riding. She has asked to also do parkrun, some sort of martial art, and dancing. She wants to learn everything there is to learn and do everything there is to do. I don't push her and I never have to cajole her into going to any of her activities - she just loves doing activities!

Jackieharris Fri 08-May-15 23:46:00

We've just cut down one activity.

I want one day a week of rest!

arethereanyleftatall Fri 08-May-15 23:47:05

Because my dc enjoy it.

ashtrayheart Fri 08-May-15 23:48:45

Maybe they want to do them? My dcs are always asking to do some club or another, we don't do everything but they do a few. They still play outside and they still get down time.

glittertits Fri 08-May-15 23:50:24

I encourage the variety. But to help my DC find out what suits them/what they enjoy the most/what they excel at.

A few hours after school is fine (schools sports teams), but I wouldn't have my children stacked up with external clubs for a majority of evenings per week. One evening, then Saturdays, and Sundays for competitions works well in this house.

It helps that my lot have very obvious sporting talent though. Brownies and a sports club pretty much covers them.

seaoflove Fri 08-May-15 23:51:48

I have a friend who boasts about her "sporty" kids, but it's her choice to enrol them in seven sports a week (some even before school, egads!).

I mean, great if they want to do it, and you can afford it all, but I know when I was a child I just liked being at home after school.

glittertits Fri 08-May-15 23:55:53

I have a friend who boasts about her "sporty" kids

Have just read my post back, and that isn't what I meant. Should have said, sport is the only thing they are not crap at. Music/drama/etc hasn't grabbed them one bit.

GraysAnalogy Fri 08-May-15 23:56:35

Agree with worra

I have this feeling that people are trying to be like the american stereotype we see on tv, the over achieving tiger parents what not.

Let children be children, if they want to do it then let them. But don;t force them to take every activity under the sun.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 08-May-15 23:57:00

Because we feel guilty for something, want to give them more than we had, competition/ keeping up with other parents, because the kids want to.
I think there are lots of reasons and combinations of reasons.
I'm not sure that too many different activities are good for too long.
Kids need time to be bored, to manage their own time and also find out what they really do enjoy or are good at.
There is a risk they won't find out or stick at things long enough if there is too much.
My dd has done lots of music and dancing. She gave the dancing up at 9 after 6.5 years. She decided what she enjoyed and was good at. I'm glad she didn't do anything else.
Turned out she was an extremely gifted musician.

Fatmomma99 Fri 08-May-15 23:57:39

I think this is a FASCINATING subject, and I have a friend that I talk to about this all the time.

To be clear, I don't think yabu, but I also REALLY see the case from the other side.

And I do think there is a 'thing' now that we don't/feel we can't allow our kids out to play like 70s kids and earlier were allowed to go out and play - we do monitor our kids more closely now.

There is, I think, a massive argument for allowing kids to set their own agenda, make their own play and feel what it's like and handle what it is to be bored.

There are also masses and masses of opportunities. Certainly more than I was ever given. And like a previous poster, my DD wants to experience every single one of them and more. So for me, what my DD does is child-led. And I DO fret about her being too busy and too tired, and we do a LOT of TV in spare time, because I WANT her to chill too.

And if we can afford it, we want to give her that/those experiences and learning things. My dd has regularly done 8+ activities every week (some school provided and the rest we opt into) since she was 3 and she's now 13.

The quandary I have is: Do I make her stick at things which become harder/she loses at (in a sporting context)/she has to practice to improve, or do I just (butterfly like) let her move on to the next new shiny thing.

I'm not criticizing or defending, but I would suggest a lot of what 'busy' families who can afford it do is probably child-led.

WorraLiberty Fri 08-May-15 23:59:46

I have happy memories of playing out in the street and the older kids, teaching the younger ones to play hopscotch amongst other things.

They obviously enjoyed their self imposed 'responsibility' in teaching us games, and us younger ones soon learned about fairness and taking turns as there was no teacher/adult to go running to.

I still played netball and table tennis, but I think what I learned in a social situation without being constantly under the watchful eyes of an adult, was equally as important.

My kids are the same. We're lucky enough to have a large amenity green at the end of the road. The kids in the street all play together and sort out their own arguments. Unless of course anything serious happened and then the adults would of course step in.

But imo it's made them into very well rounded individuals with a great sense of social fairness.

I'm not suggesting that kids who don't play out, are not well rounded but I still think there's something valuable to be had by not constantly having an adult around when they're playing, and not having a hugely structured time table to dictate their spare time.

GraysAnalogy Sat 09-May-15 00:01:15

I hope you played kirby worra otherwise you just simply didn't have an adequate childhood <shifty>

WorraLiberty Sat 09-May-15 00:04:34

Kirbsy Grays Kirbsy!!!

I'm sorry you clearly had to play the fake version in your area sad grin

GraysAnalogy Sat 09-May-15 00:06:18


it cannot possibly be

I was the best kirby kirbsy player evaaarrrr

Kirbsy sounds weird grin

BackforGood Sat 09-May-15 00:06:34

Well, I'd say it's only a small group of folk who are making their dc do lists of activities at such a young age.
By 5 mine were all doing swimming. At 3 they weren't doing anything at all. That was pretty typical of people I knew.

WorraLiberty Sat 09-May-15 00:08:43

Oddly enough, I now live in an area without kerbs so my kids do actually miss out on that game grin

I just didn't give a shit when I bought this house. I'm ashamed now as I didn't consider the bigger picture...

<< Calls SS and desperately talks them into taking my kids >>

TheRainInTheWoods Sat 09-May-15 00:10:38

DS hates school. Frankly, it's just not for him at the moment. There is not a single thing he's any good at at school. So we do a sports group (run for children with his disability) and a drama group, which he loves. He has to feel as though he's succeeding somewhere and it's the out of school stuff that gives him that.

cerealqueen Sat 09-May-15 00:13:19

It's like a schedule - every three year old does ballet round here and mine would too for the outfit but how many say, mummy, I really want to learn ballet?

Cute pics on Facebook alert grin


itsveryyou Sat 09-May-15 00:16:38

grays and * worra* please let me settle this once and for all, ahem, it was

SpinDoctorOfAethelred Sat 09-May-15 00:16:44

You're both wrong. It's kErby.


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