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Do you think your children miss out on after school activities etc

(22 Posts)
Conundrumish Sun 11-Oct-09 16:49:47

We are thinking about No4, but even with three I feel I am stretched quite thin some of the time (I'm OK day to day, it's when there is something extra in the mix like trying to decorate, organise Christmas etc).

My DH works away a lot, so after school activities are a bit difficult sometimes and I just don't see how I can be picking one up from Cubs at 8pm with a new baby/toddler thrown in too. I don't particularly like asking other people to help; a friend with three was constantly asking me to help and I vowed never to have more children than I could cope with myself.

I would love to hear your thoughts ...

sarah293 Sun 11-Oct-09 16:52:39

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cat64 Sun 11-Oct-09 17:05:46

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NancyBotwin Sun 11-Oct-09 17:21:04

It's fine when the activity is something that takes place after school but before 6 pm but I agree that things like cubs are a nightmare. I'm glad my eldest didn't do stuff like that when the others were little - it's hard enough now dragging a 5 year old out at 8.30 when he really wants to be in his pjs and heading for bed.

I think it's fine to ask for favours if you reciprocate - maybe you could take another child and get their parent to bring yours home? If you can't even do one leg of the journey there be some other way you could pay them back...

VerityBrulee Sun 11-Oct-09 17:25:53

I have 3 and after nearly having a nervous breakdown last year with all the after school running around, I sat them down and said we needed to cut down on extra activities this year, let everyone choose one thing, and they are all perfectly happy with that.

I thought they'd feel they were missing out, but not at all. I think that they enjoy having more time to relax and play at home or go to the park instead which is much less fuss for me.

lljkk Sun 11-Oct-09 17:31:04

What are the ages of your others, OP? Coz at some point they will be old enough to take themselves to/from places.

I am lucky that DC1 doesn't do any activities. DC2-DC3 go to (in theory) 4 after school and 2 Saturday activities; I make a point of trying to book them for times AFTER DH gets home, so I usually don't have to drag any unnecessary children along. I would struggle without DH being around, tbh.

We don't bother to decorate or organise anything unless essential, lol.

I imagine I will be slow to book DC4 in for any thing.

Conundrumish Sun 11-Oct-09 19:04:13

Thanks all. My DCs are just 8, just 6 and just 3.

LongStory Sun 11-Oct-09 21:14:33

Mine are 9, 7 and 4, (plus baby twins) so I'm one step ahead of you. With babies we needed to re-evaluate, and now it's just cubs/brownies/beavers plus swimming, and stagecoach on a saturday morning. Actually that sounds quite a lot! It does take a lot of planning and would be tricky without having two adults around most of the time.

Major planning to get all three swimming on the same day / time, which helps, BUT there is always someone at home with the babies and making tea for when they're done - imo it would be impossible otherwise. Had words with cubs leader and said he'd only be there 2/3 sessions as when DH is away I don't even attempt it - they understood.

Have got much more relaxed about lift-sharing but always offer to do one leg - facebook is really handy for politely collaring other mums.

If you are going to be taking the strain yourself, you'll probably need to cut back on activities and generally be gentler on yourself. I agree this has its plus sides!

[reaching for cancellation forms....]

cat64 Sun 11-Oct-09 21:22:12

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rosyleecupoftea Sun 11-Oct-09 21:37:55

I have 4 but my eldest (who is 8) is the only one who does any clubs at the moment. He does cubs, swimming and after school tennis. I readily accept offers of lifts from other people and try to reciprocate when I can - which actually isnt all that often, but you can also thank people with a bottle of wine/box of chocs or other present!!
I dont think children miss out if they cant do loads of activities. Actually I think there is possibly too much pressure to do stuff, when often children are just as happy chilling out at home.

juuule Mon 12-Oct-09 08:24:02


MillyMollyMoo Tue 13-Oct-09 08:41:06

The older ones won't miss out on anything they want to do, but then a lot of it is at school or straight from school so it's easy enough.
However I shall not be bothering with the likes of tumble tots, rhythm time yada yada yada again, it's playgroup or nothing why I ever put myself through that I don't know, we live and learn eh ?

notagrannyyet Tue 13-Oct-09 11:53:32

Don't think my 6 have ever missed out. The only thing I remember saying 'no' to was horse riding. The main reason was the cost, but it would have been very difficult transport wise too. DD was already doing swimming, dance, tennis, netball, and music, so she was doing plenty already.

The trick is to get DC doing things at the same time. Saturday moring was for swimming. At one time we had 4DC in pools at same time. 2 were doing life saving, 2 younger ones were in the training pool,little one was with me and toddler was shopping with DH. I just asked at reception and switched lesson times 'til I got what I wanted.

I did similar with the music lessons. They all play different instruments but I mentioned to teachers, and as soon as a time slot came free I managed to move DC to the same time. Still doing music 2 nights per week though.

It doesn't work as well with sport because that depends more on the child's age so they are often playing on different days/times.

When they were in scouting usually arranged 'I'll take if you bring back' with another parent.

Agree with MillyMolly, playschool is plenty for preschool. The only thing any of mine started before school was swimming. But older DC were at the pool anyway.

Conundrumish Wed 14-Oct-09 16:59:35

Thank you everyone grin

DougalDoneGood Fri 16-Oct-09 09:23:49

I have four and don't feel they've missed out. We seem to have a good balance of activities and free time. Sometimes it's a logistical nightmare but we always manage. I usually share drop offs/pick ups with another parent who is equally grateful to share the load.

Mine have all had/have swimming lessons, and have always done cubs/guides/rainbows/brownies because I think they are excellent value for money and they get so much from it. They do music lessons at school apart from DD2 who has lessons just down the road and is able to take herself. They have dabbled in other activities from time to time (football/karate/tennis) just to try them out and I'm always relieved when they want to give them up blush

They love having days when they're free to play at home.

estar Fri 16-Oct-09 17:23:46

Mine are 7, 6, 6 and nearly 2 and, as we don't have much money and DH gets home from work after 6:30pm, I began a plan two years ago that they could all do one thing each and stick to it for a year, then change to something else, and after a few years of doing that, they could pick one to stick with and get good at. We are not a very sporty family so I wanted to help them develop those skills.

For the first year, they did ball skills (called Enjoy-a-Ball, absolutely fab) but it was a bit far to go, and when the DTs had finished their session, I then had to keep two four yos and a newborn occupied at the side of the hall while DS1 had his session so it was tough but managable.

Last year, DS1 did Tae Kwon Do on a Monday night and the DTs did trampolining on a Thursday. Both activities were around tea time so it did interfere with that two nights a week (maybe I wasn't organised enough but it had a knock on effect on bedtimes, etc).

This year, I have got the three of them doing the same activity at the same time - swimming - so there's only DS4 to occupy in the meantime. In addition to this though, school have started lots more free clubs. Some are at lunchtimes which is great! DT1 does a singing club after school one night but it's only half an hour so I just sit in the car reading with the other three. And after half term, they're all doing the free drama club on the same night which means I just have to go an hour later to pick them up - bonus!

Anyway, what I am saying in a long-winded way is that I felt it was good to expose them to a few different things while keeping the sanity of the family intact. I feel that 12 months with each activity means they all get a decent chance to try them and when they are a bit older they will have an opportunity to make a well-informed decision about which one to stick with. DH isn't as happy because he really wanted DS1 to get more belts in TaeKwonDo and learn how to persist, but the way I see it is that he's taking a break for a while and learning a skill that's important to get while he's young (swimming) and then he can go back to TaeKwonDo at any age and continue from where he was.

estar Fri 16-Oct-09 17:24:53

And forgot to add - I am also expecting number five so it hasn't stopped us so far. Go for it!! grin

Conundrumish Sat 17-Oct-09 12:20:07

You sound very organised to me Estar! Congratulations with No5!

seeker Sat 17-Oct-09 12:26:14

I can never understand why people don;t want to accept/give lifts and help with pick-ups for activities - it makes life easier, saves petrol and generally the children love it. My friend hasn't got a car so I do quite a lot of ferrying for her. In exchange she has mine whenever I need her to, and she's a lovely friend as well.

We should all help each other in this parenting lark - it's hard and lonely otherwise!

Conundrumish Sun 18-Oct-09 13:11:21

It's OK if it is a two way thing Seeker, but there are a few mums I know who are 'takers' and that's really wearing for those involved.

Broke Sun 18-Oct-09 18:22:16

I wish anyone would offer to share lifts, there's been many an occassion where somebody has said is XYZ going to the school disco and I've said no I don't have a lift and they've gone Oh shame and then walked off

seeker Sun 18-Oct-09 21:12:50

I do more than my share of giving lifts - because I don't work, and because we live out of town so I'm driving anyway. I don't keep a tally. It's no more trouble to drive a car with another child in it than to drive a car with just mine in it!

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