AIBU to resent extra curricular clubs?(123 Posts)
My children are 6 and 9. Their school has a lot of middle class families, well paid dads, sah mums. There seems to be a culture of competitive after-school-clubbing. It's not unusual for a child to do three different activities in a night (as in "Little johnny has piano lesson, then football, then beavers on a Monday, choir and karate on Tuesday etc etc").
I work 4 days a week, an hours commute each way. We struggle financially each month to meet basic costs. I rely on grandparents for after school care. My kids do swimming lessons. At home, they play in the garden and we take the dog for walks. We swim at weekends as well, and usually go to the beach/woods.
I can't afford all these clubs, I couldn't manage it logistically, when we have tried clubs in the past, both kids have hated them and asked to leave. It's hard enough getting homework done, and also I like actually spending time with my children. They are both healthy, sociable and well rounded kids.
One or two activities that a child enjoys I get, but AIBU to think that the myriad of activities kids do is at least as much about competitive parenting as creating a happy and successful child?
3 a night?! No that's ridiculous. All the club's my dc do are ones they want to do (other than swimming ) and I try to keep it to a minimum.
Why does autocorrect have to make me look a fool with random apostrophes
Meh- some people (children and parents!) like to be busy, others like to chill.
As long as the children aren't being forced, what's the harm in trying as many things as they want to? And what's the harm in not? Although I think it is sad if children never get to try anything (obviously cost is a big factor, but cubs, brownies and church groups tend to be very inexpensive).
I grew up with poor parents and no opportunities for after school activities or extra curricular clubs.
My kids, over time, have built up to doing quite a few things each, and on one eve, do 2 activities because of availability of spaces at that particular club and timing.
We accommodate this as realistically it will only be whilst they are of primary school age when they are so keen to try different things, (by secondary school, there is loads going on at break and dinner times and after school clubs- and I'd expect them to be getting themselves to things themselves if they want to do them) and because there is just no culture around here of 'playing out'.
I wouldn't judge whether families did or did not partake in activities, but I'm certainly pleased my kids have chances that I didn't- and that is relative to our personal circumstances. Couldn't give a stuff at what others think about it.
3 a night is silly but my children tried a lot of activities and stuck with them. You are probably not joining the right activities or your children prefer their computer games. My children did swimming, orchestra, singing, dancing (tap, ballet and modern), horse riding, piano, Brownies and art between them. Lots of other children did football, tennis, rugby, 11 plus tuition, and lots of other sports. By the time they got to age 11 all the dance and music was still going strong plus swimming with skiing added. They also did residential activity holidays. Mine are now in their 20s and loved these activities. I couldn't care less about what other parents do. My children had a go at what interested them. My eldest still sings and plays the piano and my youngest still dances. They have lasting enjoyment from these hobbies..They both ski. We gave them a chance to find out what they liked and what other talents they had other than just doing homework.
It's the same round here. My son has ASD so pretty much all activities and clubs are out of bounds for him - even if I could afford it all. It used to make me so sad but I have eventually come to terms with it and a happy result is that instead of being out every night rushing from here to there, we are at home or in the park and all my DCs spend lots of time playing together. My DC are very close and very inventive when it comes to entertaining themselves.
I know of three families round here that have so much on that they have designated slots for family time and many siblings who only get to spend time together at weekends and school holidays.
I did a lot after school when I was a kid because both my parents worked so it was easier for them to pick me up later. I'd have liked to be a bit less busy, but it wasn't a great hardship. But if it doesn't work for you it doesn't work for you.
I agree OP that some parents overdo the extracurricular thing. 3 in a night sounds excessive. My son does 3 extracurricular activities. 2 of which happens on a weekend. After school, I prefer that he does his homework and spend time with us playing football, tickling, r and then off to sleep at a reasonable time without feeling exhausted. During holidays he does an extra sporting activity but that is time limited.
I'm an outcomes person. I don't see much point in a scatter gun, do as much extracurricular stuff as possible. I've chosen the 3 to develop specific skills that will serve him well in years to come.
My dc Do quite a few clubs, not 3 a night though. My reasons are that I want them to have the opportunity to try as many different things as possible to find a hobby they love. I think hobbies are important when you're a teenager, an adult, a pensioner, so under 10 is a good time to try out different ones.
If the children want to do them and the parents can afford/accommodate it then that's up to them. No one is saying you and your DCs have to do the same so I don't see what the problem is? Everyone is different.
My eldest does loads if clubs, but it is all based around her interests and I only enrol/reenrol her if she is keen. In fact she was incredibly sad when I wasn't able to reenrol her for one of her activities once due to administrative reasons. She remembered for a long time and kept asking to go. Thankfully I managed to get a place back in the end.
Currently we are doing 6 different activities a week.
All children are different, and some may be happy to do a lot less. It is nothing to do with competitive parenting for me.
I don't think it's competitive at all. Who are they competing with? My daughters' friends do similar - piano, singing, dance, swimming etc. My girls don't because I'm a single parent who works full time and can't make it work either. Not least because they like different things and where I can fit an activity in for one it means dragging the other along unfairly. I don't get a sense that parents who manage it think they're better than me. And nor do I see myself as a lesser parent. I think you viewing it as competitive might be a reflection of your own feelings rather than anything else.
You could try Brownies/Cubs. They are v cheap.
My Brownie pack charges £25 per term, or roughly £2.50 a session. If parents genuinely can't pay we don't charge anything or they pay what they can.
I love spending time with my kids. Their activities are not about me palming them off on other people. Not is it a competitive thing. I just love being able to let them do activities they enjoy.
Mine do lots of clubs. DS1 has ASD and comes home from school each day in desperate need of burning himself out physically; his mind is shattered but his body is buzzy. So he does judo, swim club, scouts, cricket, rugby, pilates and thai boxing. He also rides horses, learns guitar, helps out at DS2's Beavers and runs with me a few nights a week. It sounds like a lot and there are times when we have to cut back; he gets migraines and when one is on the way he just has to sleep it off. But generally it helps him enormously.
DS2 has grown up watching DS1 do lots of sports so has automatically joined in as he's got older; he does swim club, Beavers, judo, choir, horse riding and football. Again, if he needs a night off every so often I don't fret over it; they're children. But I don't deny that I deliberately keep them active and busy during term-time because it just works for us as a family. We do lots of it together; we all go down to the stables, we all go to rugby on a sunday, we have lots of family time. While they're happy being busy I'm happy for them to continue. The only thing I won't let them quit is swim club; we've agreed they have to stay at swim club til they hit Stage 10 (currently at 8 & 6) but everything else they can choose.
You can't afford them
It's logistically Inpossible
And your kids hate them !
It's not the clubs is it ? It's the fact you have a lot of Uber competitive middle class twats
Ignore them --- don't let them make you feel shit - sounds like your are providing your kids with a lovely life (sea ! Jealous !)
It's a slippery slope don't let them do it to you !
Yes, we have the same here. Sometimes I get asked about them as well. have health problems and not always easy to hang around pitches etc and don;t want to ask other parents. Last week I was asked "I suppose you spend lots of time running around to clubs etc" it made me feel a bit guilty.
I say to mine, they can choose two things each week to do. It happens to be for the youngest, judo and computing and these are before school, which works out quite well, they just go early so around 8am. also cubs, which DH takes to in the evenings.
In secondary it gets easier i found. Firstly most are free, and they can drop in to. and make their way home after.
My DCs do lots of clubs and have stuck at all of them, but it's because they beg to join and I can't see why I wouldn't do my best to facilitate them. I wish they didn't want to as it would make my life much easier. It's definitely not competitive parenting
YANBU, but its horses for courses, isn't it?
My older DC has zero interest in clubs and prefers to come home and chill out, watch TV, read etc after school.
Younger DC has got ridiculous amounts of energy and would find that boring, so does a club most days of the week, sometimes two (for example, she does school choir one day after school and then I collect her and take her to swimming).
It is expensive, I grant you, and if both DC wanted to do all these clubs we couldn't afford it - so lucky big one has no interest.
Quite a few of the younger one's clubs are at school, so it works out as decent childcare for me, too. I work full-time and I admit, on some evenings when I have to take her to an external club after a long day at work, it does piss me off. But you make sacrifices. Hey ho.
I work four days a week so my dcs generally do several activities each day when I am free. My dc do five activities each hitch is less than the norm for where we live. The costs do mount up but they are all things they enjoy and we can afford it so I don't see the problem with it, in fact we would probably do more if my working hours allowed. I spend very little on myself and my dh and I both have good jobs so don't see why it's anyone else's concern tbh
Fast foward some years down the line and how many of kids stick with these activities or even have them as hobbies well into the future. Statistically, very very few.
All these endless extracurricular activities are seen as a middle class thing to do and a keeping up with the Joneses.
Don't be taken in by this. We are sporty people and I imagine my DC will be just as active. Not because he goes to these extracurricular activities but just because it is our lifestyle.
Extracurricular activities can be good for making friends and trying out stuff but one does not need to do loads and cram a week with tons of things to get these benefits.
I'd prefer to spend time with my DC than sending him here and there to tons of activities. I barely have time with him when I get home from work ad it is. Just my preference.
YABU to cast aspersions on the activities other children do. So, your kids don't do many clubs, others do loads. This matters because ... ?
Despite your protestations, I suspect this worries you as you think your children are missing out. Your children will be fine. So will the others.
My son does a few extra activities (not more than 5 a week)
He does them because he is an only child. Some he doesn't go to every week and only does 3.
I do know someone who's children go to 3 a night, I don't know how the kids do it - I was exhausted just hearing the classes!
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