Feeling swamped by DCs Activities

(34 Posts)
FarAwayHills Wed 11-May-16 21:26:08

Anyone else feel that their DCs activities are dominating family life? The time...the money....I'm starting to feel it's out of control. How do you make sure stay involved while remaining a sensible level of time and financial commitment?

FarAwayHills Wed 11-May-16 21:28:31

Apologies for typos...

RandomMess Wed 11-May-16 21:29:46

I think it varies, ages and stages etc.

If you feel swamped you need to cut back though!

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 11-May-16 21:30:36

oh yes

brassbrass Wed 11-May-16 21:32:30

can you give an idea of what they are committed to?

schbittery Wed 11-May-16 21:33:54

god yes,

CocktailQueen Wed 11-May-16 21:35:11

No. Surely you think about what you can fit in when you sign up to activities? If they are dominating, ask each dc to drop one activity then take it from there. Kids need down time too.

BombadierFritz Wed 11-May-16 21:35:18

Yes but i dont mind. If i minded, i'd cut back. Dont do more than you can manage its just not worth it!

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 11-May-16 21:53:22

I suppose it depends in what way. If your children are doing loads of different things then yes I would get them to cut down, I think it is important they understand there isn't an endless supply of money and time and that there is a family to consider, not just them. Also important they know that school work increases as they get older so they may not be able to fit things in anyway. If however you have a child who is particularly talented and therefore is training a lot of hours in something then it is a little different possibly as it is harder to cut down on.

FarAwayHills Thu 12-May-16 09:18:30

My DCs both do a lot of dance, ballet contemporary / jazz and tap plus dance competitions as part of a group.

I don't mind the weekly lessons, they are manageable but it is the extra lessons for exams and unplanned rehearsals for competitions that seem to have snowballed. There is an expectation to do everything, with threats that if you don't do X class or exam than you cannot be part of the competition group etc. Extra lessons are requested at short notice with the expectation that we can just drop everything and be there. If for some reason they cannot attend the teacher gives them a very hard time.

Having said this my DCs love dance and really enjoy it. I understand that a certain level of commitment is involved but I guess I just don't like being dictated to or feeling under pressure that they have to do it all for fear of being in the teachers bad books.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 12-May-16 09:30:56

ah - the world of dance..... not much more needs to be said. I share your pain but we don't do competitions so it is just 4hrs dancing a week and occasional large and long commitment professional shows.

How old are they? do they have to do all the competitions? I mean are they different dance styles so could they perhaps choose their favourite and focus on that one?

teacherwith2kids Thu 12-May-16 09:43:03

FarAwayHills,

As we have had an exceptionally busy couple of weeks with a regional competition followed by a local festival in which DD danced far too many times because she is in all the group dances two different age groups, i feel your pain.

I think it is easier when a child has a portfolio of different activities - e.g. my DS combines music with football / cricket / table tennis / some chess - as you can drop one out of the portfolio relatively easily. However, a single but all-consuming activity - DD's minimum dance timetable is around 12 hours per week, much more over the run-up to this fortnight - is harder, because it comes as a whole, and removing just one part of it unpicks the whole.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Thu 12-May-16 09:56:18

The problem with a portfolio approach is when things start snowballing a bit with one they create unforseen clashes with the others. My DD is in a drama group which meets on a Thurs, but once a year they put on a show, coming up soon, there is an extra dress rehearsal on a Weds which means she has to miss Guides and the show is on a Fri which means missing a school event she was really looking forward to. Similarly with Scouts and Guides, when the DCs started Rainbows and Beavers they rarely went out and about, now they are in Guides and Scouts the meetings are longer, they need to be dropped off at various locations instead of the huts pretty well every other week (huts are both within 500m of home so they walk to those but have to be driven to a lot of the other places), there are weeks when my feet don't touch the ground with it all. When it all gets a bit much we usually drop something but invariably before ling they want to try something else.

teacherwith2kids Thu 12-May-16 10:06:10

Whoknows,

Yes, I can see that - DS's sporting and musical lives clash very frequently, so he is now adept at managing conflicting priorities when e.g. a music rehearsal clashes with a football match. The issue with the single overwhelming activity is that since it doesn't clash with itself, it can just balloon to the extent that it takes over all aspects of normal life....

I have one day during the week when only 1 child has an activity, none when neither of them are out. Much more frequently both DCs have an after-school club or match for school, return home, eat and do homework and then go straight out to a non-school activity or club

BombadierFritz Thu 12-May-16 10:38:30

Ah dance. Yes, we avoided that!

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 12-May-16 10:51:55

teacher - 12hrs? how old is she? do hope I haven't got that to come. 4 is enough

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Thu 12-May-16 11:21:55

We do have dance but luckily DD doesn't take it very seriously (no exams) so it's just 40 mins each of ballet and tap back to back, apart from in the runup to a show. However it has had a knock-on effect in that I have been lured into adult ballet and tap classes so that's two more things on the weekly timetable smile.

teacherwith2kids Thu 12-May-16 11:27:07

13, though 10+ hours has been pretty much routine for several years now.

- 3.25 hours of ballet + 45 mins pointe
- 45 mins tap
- 1 hour modern
- 30 minutes of individual lesson
- 1 hour of body conditioning / stretching
- 2 hours of group lessons (currently plus another 1.25 hours for a second age group)
- 1 hour of either choir or jazz-type free dance
- 45 mins to 1 hour of exam preparation, as she seems to be on a one-exam-per-term cycle at the moment (Intermediate tap and Intermediate modern this term)

Extra bits and bobs - extra group or individual rehearsals in the run up to competitions, extra lessons to learn new duets or trios - get added to that frequently.

teacherwith2kids Thu 12-May-16 11:29:41

She also plays in school teams for netball, sometimes hockey and rounders in the summer, plays a musical instrument (every now and again!) and is in a special art thing at school....

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 12-May-16 13:54:42

crikey.

we will NOT be doing that in the future.

Abraid2 Thu 12-May-16 13:59:02

It gets better once they approach GCSE and drop various things!

And once they are able to get themselves to activities it so much easier.

Passing driving tests at 17 has been almost as much a priority for us as getting good GCSE and A level results. I have my life back again now my youngest is in L6 and driving herself to wherever she needs to be. It was worth the horrific expense and vast amount of time I gave to getting them both on the road.

I remember the years between about nine and 15 with a shudder. We used to have pasta out of thermos flasks in the car between activities as we hurled across the county.

teacherwith2kids Thu 12-May-16 14:14:51

nonickname...

That's what I said, too....it grew on us....

Started with 45 minutes of skipping round the ballet studio at rising 5..

Stayed reasonably under control when that grew to 45 mins ballet, 45 mins modern, an hour of groups and an hour of drama by the end of Y1

Even the addition of 45 mins tap was OK..then the exam lessons added another 45 mins ... and she started individual lessons aged about 7 or 8...

It was when she started having to go to 2x 1 hour ballet lessons, then 3x plus stretching / body conditioning, that was when it got seriously out of control!!

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 12-May-16 14:35:13

well the 13year olds at our dance school on the whole do 1hr tap, 1hr modern and 2hrs ballet a week with no exam classes or conditioning so our school doesn't seem to do so much.

no groups here either.

phew

Lindy2 Thu 12-May-16 14:48:19

Can you not just say no to some of it?
Maybe let them choose their favourite class. Drop the competitions.
There's no way on earth I would put up with all of that.
Are your children likely to become professional dancers or is this simply an out if control hobby?
I think you need to decide what you all want going forward and stick to it.

teacherwith2kids Thu 12-May-16 15:00:44

Lindy,

It is quite possible that DD will go to dance college at 18 (not before - she needs the fall back of the very high grade A-levels she is capable of getting, and the local dance school is entirely serious enough to get her to the standard required for the 'general' dance colleges). Or she may not, but the work ethic, the belief that it is worth hours of practice to perfect a 5 minute performance, the time management skills to keep her school marks high and her school effort marks at 1*, the teamwork and friendship, not to mention the exercise, are things that will stand her in good stead whatever she does.

It's not a question of 'putting up with it' - that amount of work is needed for her to attain and maintain the standard that she has reached, and the competitions 3x a year are where she does the ''performance' part of what is, after all, a performing art.

If she wasn't enjoying it, or wasn't improving, that would be different. But if you go over to e.g. the musicians thread, they too put many hours each week into lessons, practice, orchestras, groups, concerts, and nobody says 'well, i wouldn't put up with the amount of commitment needed to attain a grade 8 distinction in music'. Equally, doing well at school takes many hours of work, or achieving highly at a sport required a daily input of a certain number of hours. Why should I limit DD's attainment in dance in a way i wouldn't limit DS's attainment in music, or either of their attainment in academic subjects, just because the dance world is an unknown one to me and the music world a known one?

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