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Pre school activities - essential/waste of time/for who's benefit???

(14 Posts)
DorsetLass Wed 24-Apr-13 17:27:27

I have a 2 year old DS and 3.7 DD. we have done a number of activities such as swimming, gymnastics, ballet. Not all day everyday but enough to keep us reasonably busy. I have however realised that all my points of high stress are around getting them to, supervising them during, and dealing with tiredness resulting from 'extra' activities. And each one also has a cost!

What are your thoughts? Are they a good part of development? Or as they are quite young best not to worry? I don't feel the need to do lots of stuff to fill our time - so it's not for my benefit. Am I however being selfish in stopping activities as I find it stressful.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 24-Apr-13 17:38:22

I have never sent my DDs to things until they are over the age of 5 as it's just not worth it. Playgroups and spending time with parents and close friends are plenty in my opinion.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 24-Apr-13 17:41:27

stop doing them if you want to

It is not obligatory, if it is stressing you out then I would cut down or stop.

looseleaf Wed 24-Apr-13 19:04:56

Just do things local to you that you and the children enjoy? I think great you've introduced swimming but no need to get over stressed as not worth it!
We have one swimming class a week as I was always the worst at swimming as a child! And otherwise whatever we feel like on the day be it seeing friends, going to the library, playgroup or park. No stress at all except our school run first which a bit more pressured!

CreatureRetorts Wed 24-Apr-13 19:07:47

Waste of time unless it was your way of socialising? Yourself that is.

Ds gets more out of going to a preschool than any class or playgroup I took him too (3.6). Dd who's younger enjoys music classes but thrives on running about in parks etc!

Sunshine200 Wed 24-Apr-13 19:16:26

That's a really great question, thanks for asking it. I have been feeling that way myself recently. I think there is so much perceived pressure on us to
be developing our children in a particular way that we get them to do things at the risk of being a bad mum if we don't. But actually sometimes it is stressful, and they dont even enjoy it that much that we wonder why we bother.
I think that when they are older they will be nagging us to let them do certain things so maybe we should just save our money for then!

DorsetLass Wed 24-Apr-13 21:08:38

Sunshine - you are so right!! After today's ballet meltdown I am now on my second large glass of wine and realising that my children's future happiness is not determined by whether or not they do gymnastics and tennis at age three! I wonder if there are just some clever marketing tricks to help us part with money or feel like bad parents. Thank you all for some sensible advice!

Satine5 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:38:28

I ditto giving classes a miss unless your DCs enjoy them. You seem to be doing a lot...we only do a singing session (30 mins once a week and DD loves it). Otherwise, we have lots of time to play around with: park, playdates, etc .
Once they go to school, they will have so much time taken away from them (and in my opinion, kids start school far too early in this country).

savoirfaire Wed 24-Apr-13 21:42:23

We do a couple of classes and DCs really enjoy them - and I enjoy watching them enjoying them. I wouldn't do it if I was finding it stressful though. And I don't do it because I think they're going to turn them into professional footballers, musicians but because they have fun in the here and now.

weebarra Wed 24-Apr-13 21:59:39

DS1 is 5 and DS2 is 2.5. DS2 goes to swimming class and a toddler group. He is in private nursery for 2 days while I work so I don't think he needs to do anything else other than play with mummy.
DS1 is at school (P1) and does swimming and taekwondo. The taekwondo is mostly because he has issues with his gross motor skills.

breatheslowly Wed 24-Apr-13 22:21:44

It must partly depend on how many of these activities you/they are doing. Are you just doing too many? It makes most sense to go to activities that fall at the right time of day for your needs or represent things that are important to you/your DC. For example going to a music class is a priority for us as DH is musical and we would like DD to have the opportunity to be musical if she wants. I would also consider swimming to be important, but we don't do that at the moment as it would have to be at the weekends and would just be too restrictive.

Does your DD go to nursery/preschool?

I would suggest a maximum of 3 activities - to give scope for one each plus one they can do together.

If you felt that someone gave you permission to drop some activities, are there ones that you would be relieved to ditch?

Coming into summer it also becomes easier to amuse yourselves in the garden or park (I know you can do this in winter, but it isn't as tempting). Too many activities could get in the way of this.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 24-Apr-13 22:29:59

Breathe 3 activities is what my 8 year old does and sometimes that's too many for her! For a preschooler one maximum is ideal in my opinion..they should be looking for worms in the back garden...going to the shops and visiting friends and relatives...not being told to stand in lines or learnign French....or Mandarin!

breatheslowly Wed 24-Apr-13 22:58:50

When I said 3, I meant 2 per child with one of those being an overlap. It also really depends on the nature of the activity. A 30 min music with parent class aimed at toddlers isn't as much strain as a 1 hour ballet class or swimming with the faff of getting changed before and after. Particularly for younger children it seems important to have activities that they can zone in and out of rather than ones that require full concentration and participation.

Jakeyblueblue Wed 24-Apr-13 23:28:32

I've come to think they are a bit if a waste of time if I'm honest. Have taken ds 22 months to lots if different stuff over the months and with the exception of Rythmn time which he loved but couldnt afford to keep up, I found most if them were really for the parents benefit as there seemed to be more adult sicialisung going on than anything else.I've stopped all of them now, even playgroup Is reserved only for rainy days now. I came to realise that a morning of fresh air is far more valuable. We've got an allotment so we spend lots of time there or at the park. We visit family and friends, feed the ducks or some days we bake or just play.

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