Extra curricular activities for 3 3/4 year old- views please

(14 Posts)
mollymarthawilf Tue 20-Jan-09 12:13:54

My daughter will be 4 in April this year and starts school in Sept. At the moment she attends a preschool for 4 morning each week. The rest of the time she is with me and her brother. We go to the park, watch TV, go shopping, feed the ducks, meet other friends etc the rest of the time and she goes to one gym 'club' each week for preschool kids.

I am coming into contact with other mums at her preschool who take their kids to swimming lessons, ballet lessons etc etc and I wondering if my daughter is missing out.

She is a happy, confident and chatty little girl who will talk to people (unprompted by me). I feel that all this extra curricular stuff is too much for her, hence the reason for not sending her. But wonder what other peoples views are on this?

I did not go to all these type of things but can swim, dance and did well at school and university. Is it necessary or are parents being too pushy??? /i feel there is plenty of time to try out all these things.

Views please? To help with the dilemma!

Heated Tue 20-Jan-09 21:06:17

I have a friend who, almost from birth, has felt it's beneficial for her dcs to do an organised activity (gym-club/ballet/singing/trampolining etc) every morning and every afternoon. To me it's all a bit manic and spending time pootling about is just as valid.

Fwiw, I think you have the balance just right.

Heated Tue 20-Jan-09 21:06:56

that should of course read, from their birth

IdrisTheDragon Tue 20-Jan-09 21:08:57

My DD is 3.4 and is having swimming lessons. This is partly because I was told the waiting list would be longer than it was and also because she was getting really scared around the water and I decided to take the gamble of someone else teaching her to see what would happen.

Apart from that she goes to pre-school and spends time with me, and her older brother when he is home from school.

blametheparents Tue 20-Jan-09 21:14:15

DD is 3.5 and starts school in Sept. She goes to gymnastics (45 min once a week), ballet (30 min once a week) and a Jo Jingles music class (45 mins once a week). She does 4 pre-school sessions a week, with Fri off.
She loves all these activities and asks to go
eg 'Is it ballet today'

She never moans about going, and I feel he still has time at home, in total the above 'extra curricular' activities amount to 2 hours a week.
If she got grumpy or didn't want to go I wouldn't force her.

anotheryearanothername Wed 21-Jan-09 12:26:33

There's nothing wrong with extra curricular activities, IMO, as long as the child has time at home to potter/ relax. I do know some parents whose children are continually going to things at a young age (under 7) and they don't know how to play independently because they're so used to being directed. But this isn't the case with all parents, of course.

I wouldn't send my DS because I feel it's unnecessary, a bit like you. smile

islandofsodor Sat 24-Jan-09 23:09:45

It all depends on the child.

When both of mine were babies and toddlers we did all the usual, mostly to get me out of the house.

It soon became apparent that dd thrived on activities. Stagecoach, ballet etc etc.

Ds on theother hand didn't. We even had to stop going to toddler group. He now does Gymbobs (previosuly tumbletots) but doesn;t want to do anything else.

Dd onthe other hand has a list of activities that makes my head ache and is constantly signing herself up for more at school.

MollieO Sun 25-Jan-09 13:01:57

At that age my ds did Tumbletots, swimming and music classes. We did Little kickers (football) for a couple of terms too but stopped as he didn't like it. I've always taken the view that we do activities so long as ds enjoys them. Now he is at school we just do swimming as he does kindermusic at school (after school).

sarah293 Sun 25-Jan-09 13:03:56

Message withdrawn

grouchyoscar Sun 25-Jan-09 13:29:52


DS is 5.5 In Yr1 and we do swimming once a week and He goes to rugby training and football if he's up for it. I also try to get him to do 15 mins 3-4 times a week school related things (bit of reading or writing)

I tried doing other stuff but he,s too young (on a H&S/insurance basis), to tired or not interested or the cost is way too steep.

<<OK, deep breath, Puts Flame retardent suit and mask on>>
I do feel there is an element of one up mum ship in many cases ('well my little Xyz does karate/swimming/cricket/violin/post impressionistic art appreciation' yeah yeah, whatever) and as a result you feel you are somehow failing your LO as they're not doing those things.

Does your LO enjoy her experiences? Are they happy to do the activities? Don't force or overface them with stuff, you get frustrated, they do too and it all goes a bit flat all round.

You're doing great stuff. Pootling is just as valid and just go with your LO's flow

mollymarthawilf Mon 26-Jan-09 14:46:32

I have investigated the option of swimming once per week and anm considering her starting a class in the Summer term. She will be 4 by then.

I am concerned however that once we get to Sept and she starts school that she will be quite tired for a while as she adjusts to this.

I agree (flame retardent mask and all) that some parents seem to be quite competitive etc when it comes to their children. I think this is a real shame. I would like my daughter to 'try out' things but think that she needs time 'pottering' around rather than all these 'organised' activities otherwise kids never learn to explore things on their own.

I suppose I have also considered the needs of her younger brother as he does not want to be dragged here and there for all these things. He needs to nap at home too!!!!

It is helpful and useful hearning others view too......

feetheart Mon 26-Jan-09 15:04:35

I'm very much a 'go with the flow' type Mum and hate to be dashing from one thing to another.
DS(3.2) does trampoling and Tumble Tots and has 2 pre-school sessions a week at the moment. We do lots of other stuff - park, friends, etc but both enjoy pottering. As it is we are tied to DD's school times so he gets to scooter to and from school 5 days a week too so I think that's plenty smile

DD(nearly 6) started school and swimming at the same time last year and coped well though I did make sure we went to the Monday swimming lesson NOT the Friday one, she would have been far too shattered for that.

Karamazov Mon 26-Jan-09 19:56:41

Just ignore everyone else and do what's right for you! Whichever way you jump, you'll find smug mums who disapprove of what you do...

Do lots of hobbies, and you'll get those mums of older children who will tell you that once your child starts school, they'll get tired with all these activties and their behaviour will deteriorate and you'll only live to regret it blah blah...

Don't do any hobbies, and you'll be told that Darling Tarquin is doing X,Y,Z and imply that you're not giving your child the best by not letting her do those hobbies too.

So, whatever you do you'll find mums who disagree.

I also don't think it is about being pushy / doing too much etc... Given a preschool child is awake for 10 hours a day, 2 1/2 hours are spent at preschool, even with a further hobby of one hour a day still leaves the child 6 1/2 hours of free time a day - plenty for playing etc. This is especically true when some hobbies (such as ballet) can be done on a saturday morning. Before my daughter started school, she did Ballet and Tap (one class), Gymnastics, Trampolining and Swimming. For us that was preschool on four days a week, two days of which she had an activity later on in the afternoon. She had one activity on the day she didn't go to pre school (so spent the rest of the day free playing) and one hobby on a saturday morning. So she did lots, but still had loads of time for friends, soft play, free play and so on... It is perfectly possible to combine hobbies and lots of free play - the two are not mutually exclusive!

However, now she is at school, that has been reduced to two hobbies - Gymnastics and dancing. She loves them and thrives on them, so we do them and I ignore all those mums who think she should do more ("every child absolutely must learn to swim / play tennis / go horse riding...") and equally, I ignore all those mums who thinks she does too much ("doesn't she get tired?") she is happy with what she does, and that's all that counts!

Sorry, was a bit long... probably could have written that more succinctly if I wasn't so tired!

bigTillyMint Mon 26-Jan-09 20:02:12

When DD was 3, she started a Saturday morning "ballet" class (I use that term loosely!) which went for half an hour. She went with friends, and we all went to the park after. Se swapped to gymnastics when she was 6 or so, which she still does.

I think she started proper swimming lessons when she was 4 (having been taken swimming from 6 weeks smile), - also 1/2 an hour, and has continued ever since.

DS, however, never wanted to do classes (apart from swimming, which he still does), until he was about 6, and then he started at a football club - more a kick around than a "class".

Swimming was the only thing after school when they were little - DD was soooo tired after school, DS much more resilient.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now