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Extra curricular activity costs for DD 7

46 replies

wasonthelist · 07/09/2015 11:35

Ex and DD moved out 3 and half years ago. I am NRP but do a 32 mile round trip to take DD to breakfast club 2 mornings and pick her up and give her evening meal and put her to be 2 nights (at her Mum's).

I pay (well) in excess of CSA (or whatever they are called this week) rates, monthly by standing order as a private arrangement - I have never been late. I also contribute by salary sacrifice the max I can into childcare vouchers which are used for DD exclusively (neither of us has other children or partners).

Ex has now asked if I will stump up 50% of French, recorder, cookery, swimming, gymnastics, ballet, brownies. DD has been doing French, swimming and ballet for years, but the others are new.

My initial reaction is to say no - but I don't want to start a shitstorm for the sake of a few quid. OTH she seems to be asking for an open ended commitment to 50% of everything on top of the monthly amount.

Ex is not short of money - bought a brand new car this year (I bought the old 10 year old one off her!), but I am not on my uppers either.

OP posts:

ZeldaTheWindBreaker · 07/09/2015 11:50

Is it something you can afford?

You are her parent, too. Therefore, you have a choice about what extra curricular activities you want your child to partake in. So you have the right to say no. Your ex cannot just enrol your child for all these extras without consulting you and then ask you to pay half. Imagine if you enrolled her in (trying to think of something incredibly expensive) horse riding lessons at £30 per session on the evenings that she is with you - without consulting your ex - and then expecting her to pay half. Do you think she would?

That sounds like an awful lot of extra clubs for a 7yo anyway. For comparison purposes, my 7yo does Brownies (1hr 45 mins), Karate (1 hr) and drama (1 hr) per week and this is more than enough for her.

I think you need to have a discussion with your ex about whether or not this is something you can afford. Perhaps agree to have one or two of these clubs fully paid for by you (do they run a direct debit scheme?) but state that as long as your child is attending these ones, then you won't be paying for any more clubs.

Also, before agreeing to anything, find out about extra costs associated with each of these clubs, such as equipment, trips, ticket to concerts/recitals etc before agreeing to contribute.


ProcrastinatorGeneral · 07/09/2015 11:59

Seven clubs is a lot. If your ex partner had wanted financial input from you then she should have consulted you before signing your daughter up.

I would be inclined to say no.


BarbarianMum · 07/09/2015 11:59

Do you want her to do these activities? Which ones do you think are important, or does she really love?

Your ex cannot insist you should pay for any of them but, as a loving parent, I think it would be reasonable for you to part-fund a couple of them.

^^This also. And agree a level of commitment with your dd and ex, so she doesn't suddenly stop going to something you've paid a term's fees for.


Shoxfordian · 07/09/2015 12:00

I agree it sounds like a lot of extra clubs, and I don't think there's anything wrong with asking your child to choose which club she wants to do but limiting it to just three a week. Maybe if she wants to do recorder instead of ballet for example and the costs are the same then that's fine.

Is there a reason to do with working hours or childcare issues that your ex might want to put your child into extra evening sessions?

Think you need to have a discussion with your ex, ask why your child wants to do all the extra classes, ask your child to choose the one's she most wants to do, and see how much it will all cost.

Don't think you're being unreasonable but do think you need to have an open conversation about it.


Cabrinha · 07/09/2015 12:01

It's impossible to say, really, without knowing what everyone's income and outgoings are.
Yes, you're paying maintenance but you're not housing your daughter at all - if I understand correctly, you just go to her mum's to put her to bed. So your XW is really picking up the lion's share of costs there - and in that context your maintenance (even if it is above CSA) may not be that much.

I don't have an agenda - I choose not to take maintenance from my higher earning XH for my own reasons, and I pay 100% of: ballet, swimming, riding, French, Spanish and recorder. He pays half of childcare, that's it.

If you've previously agreed that your current maintenance is a fair amount, then as your daughter gets older and does more activities, you're actually effectively reducing the maintenance for true 'basics' (housing, food, clothes, heating) because some of it is being channelled into clubs.
I don't think it matters that it's above CSA - which can be lower than the cost of supporting the child anyway. It's the amount that you agreed together was fair.

I think it doesn't matter how much your ex earns - minimum wage or millionaire, you both have the same respinsibility to your child.

What is fair is if you say you want to limit the activities you're prepared to contribute to. That would be the same if you were still married, having an opinion on what was affordable.

It sounds like everything has worked so far. Why not approach your ex and say you think it's worked well but you want to discuss future plans now she's older and more expensive. For example, school trip costs.

Your XW doesn't sound money grabbing, she's been paying for the clubs herself til recently.


wasonthelist · 07/09/2015 12:03

Barbarian - I agree I should part-fund, but I can't help feeling that I already am in the £700+ a month I pay to ex? (that doesn't include the CC vouchers). DD is 7 and goes to State School, so no school fees to pay etc.

OP posts:

Micah · 07/09/2015 12:03

Consider it as if you were still a RP.

Do you agree she should do these extra activities? Can you afford it? If yes to both, pay up. If not, don't. Same conversation as if you were still together. With most children this age, it's perfectly reasonable to say no, you're doing enough, or if you want to take up a new hobby drop an old one.

Just because your ex has residency doesn't mean she can sign your DD up to anything, and expect you to pay. Same as you can't sign her up to a hobby and expect ex to pay/ferry without prior agreement.


wasonthelist · 07/09/2015 12:05

Cabrinha - I do have DD on alternate weekends - I pressed post before typing that in error, so she does have a bedroom here.

OP posts:

BarbarianMum · 07/09/2015 12:11

I don't think I'd include extra-curricular activities in maintenance payments. I'd see them as something to cover the basics - food, clothing, a roof, some childcare.

Extra curricular, to me, means additional and optional. You don't have to say yes, lots of children don't do these sort of activities but it would be kind to contribute to a few.


Dragonsdaughter · 07/09/2015 12:12

Personally - 7 activities is too much for most 7 year olds - they need time to just play and be themselves with no structure or adult agenda


Charley50 · 07/09/2015 12:14

It's too many activities.


wasonthelist · 07/09/2015 12:15

Micah - we could never agree about this stuff when together - one of many reasons we aren't any more. I have sort of abdicated the decisions as it's easier than arguing and making it worse for DD. I may be wrong about this, but almost any debate with Ex seems to end in an unedifying row.

Everyone - thanks for all the comments - I hope I haven't come across as gainsaying them, I am genuinely trying to figure out from unbiased sources if IABU.

Maybe I should offer a maintenance increase so the costs are more predictable.

OP posts:

Reubs15 · 07/09/2015 12:16

That's way too many extra curricular activities for a 7 year old imo.
I definitely think you should discuss it with dd and ex


goblinhat · 07/09/2015 12:18

I agree with dragon- I wouldn't pay for these extra classes- not for financial reasons though- but I would object to my 7 yo doing so many activities.

It's far too much. Kids need down time, time to see friends, time to play, to be creative.
If we micro manage their time so much out of school then they forget how to be a kid.

I grew up in the country, I had no extra curricular activities, but we spent out time building dens, guddling in rivers, collecting conkers, climbing trees.
Those are the activities that are really valuable.


tigerscameatnight · 07/09/2015 12:19

Ok , what your exp earns and whether she can afford a new car is not relevant.

Csa is to pay to house, feed, clothe and keep your children warm and clean.


That does sound like a lot of activities at seven.
Is your ex using the activities as childcare?
Does the child want to do that many?
Can you afford to pay?

My dc would have been exhausted with all that Tbh


wasonthelist · 07/09/2015 12:26

This is really interesting - never considered it's too many activities - duh!

DD is in childcare a lot (breakfast and after school clubs) due to a combination of distance from me and the fact that Ex and I both work full time. I will ask DD when I see her - but as Ex did Ballet until 18, she regards it as compulsory for DD to do the same (I am not exaggerating this).

I guess I could probably afford to pay (although I haven't been furnished with any costs, just asked to agree to a blanket 50%), but I really think that the £700+ should cover it - I accept that ex has been paying for swimming ballet and French so far.

OP posts:

Sockattack · 07/09/2015 12:28

Agree that's a lot of clubs etc. When does she have time to just chill and play and be a child?

Anyway that's not what you've asked. Personally I'd be very clear that in future you need to be consulted before she signs up.
I think if you increase maintenance she'll still ask.


dodobookends · 07/09/2015 12:28

Aside from all else, that many activities for a 7-year-old is a bit much to be honest.


goblinhat · 07/09/2015 12:29

I think each of these activities are valuable- just not all of them together!


Witchend · 07/09/2015 12:30

I think I'd have a discussion with dd what she really wants to do.

It may be that she is trying all out for a term in order to cut back to a reasonable number when she's made an informed choice.

Also find out the costs-things like cookery might be a free afterschool one with just paying £5 a term for ingredients or something (have seen these).

I'd expect recorder to be at school and free probably-isn't it part of national curriculum they learn a bit in year 3(??), and Brownies is usually cheap-we paid £25 per term (may be slightly more the first term as they give a welcome pack). Gym is expensive though.

At 7yo my dc did a lot of clubs compared to others: Just thinking:
dd1: ballet, piano, tap/jazz, Brownies, panto (winter only)
dd2: ballet, trumpet, tap/jazz, Brownies, gym, panto (winter only)
ds: tap, Beavers, tennis, gym, panto (winter only)

Plus after school clubs (up to about 3 each-but those were free). So I'm guessing looking at the list that some of your dd's may be at school and free or very cheap.

What I would do is look at the list and discuss which your dd really wants to do (and isn't just thinking that would be okay as my friends are doing it) And choose to take payment for some of them. That means you pay the fees/get uniform etc. So if it was me I'd go for Brownies (uniform will be a big outlay at first, but they usually only have one), recorder, (with the thought of possibly changing it to an orchestral instrument if she gets on with it) and depending on price of recorder (I'd expect free/very cheap if it's school class learning, around £5 per 30 minutes if it's a group lesson/£11 per 20 minutes/£16 per 30 minutes if it's individual) and gym fees which will be the most expensive, but she will get a lot out of it, and if she gets better you may get to take her to competitions on your weekends.
That way you're paying for 3 of the new clubs, which sounds reasonable to me.

The advantage of taking on full payment of the lessons is that firstly, a lot of places like direct debit now, so it makes much more sense for you to put the money straight in than pay half and then your dd's dm has to pay it. I'd certainly be thankful for someone to remember some of the payments (but make sure you do remember at the right time!).
I think it also might make it nice for your dd to have a "daddy's special interest", but I may be shouted down on this.


TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams · 07/09/2015 13:18

Is she signing up to all these clubs as a type of after school childcare? IE are all/many of these clubs being run at the school?

In that context if she'd otherwise be sitting around at school until 6pm then while its still a lot of activity it's probably quite contained [and often cheap].

A musical instrument is recommended as part of a child's development I believe but while there are merits to the rest I'd consider them to be more optional.


NotMeNotYouNotAnyone · 07/09/2015 13:35

If you and ex can't agree on what is an appropriate amount of activities, you need to agree on a long term plan for paying for them. Whether that's increasing the monthly payment or you pay for French cooking and brownies and ex pays for ballet swimming and recorder.
It sounds like an awful lot of activities for a seven year old, especially if she's also in after school club and breakfast club. Maybe you and dd have a chat and find out whether they're things she desperately wants to do or whether she's not that bothered. Are any of them on the evenings when you normally have her?

Extra curricular activities only get more expensive not less. Using figure skating as s (perhaps extremely expensive) example as it's one im familiar with: starts off with group lesson once a week for £10 a week. Then she needs her own skates and extra practice time. Then one private lesson a week and more practice time. More private lessons. More ice time. Club fees. Show fees, costumes, competition fees, coach expenses. More expensive boots and blades. Practice clothes. Competition dresses. Even more ice time. Even more private lessons. Skate camps. It escalates quickly for anyone who wants to take it semi-seriously not just the amazingly talented future champions. Even an average skater doing a few competitions a year will spend a lot of money.

That's why you need to discuss it now, rather than let an assumption stand. If you were both RP you wouldn't commit to an activity without costing it out, neither of you should do that now.

FWIW, Brownies is cheaper than most as its run by volunteers not paid instructors, varied activities, and not competitive so low pressure.


goblinhat · 07/09/2015 13:38

I agree about the cost. My DD dances, it costs me £200 a month.


Cabrinha · 07/09/2015 13:42

I don't think it's that many activities, though I accept that none are necessary.
But my daughter does Spanish, French and recorder during school lunchtimes. She's 6 and begged to do them!
She then has a half hour swimming lesson after school on a Friday, then an hour each of ballet and riding on Sat and Sun mornings. We have LOADS of time left for going out on our bikes, climbing trees, building dens etc!
It sounds a lot, 6 activities - but she loves them all, and attendance is truly driven by her.
So I wouldn't say the number is bad. And 2 hours from an entire weekend is hardly not allowing her free time!


Gatehouse77 · 07/09/2015 13:56

Blimey, I was getting £700pm for 3 children! He would put them to bed at mine twice a week and have them every other weekend too.

We would always discuss extra curricular stuff together before committing to it. If possible, I would ask for a time to talk it through with your ex. I think it's unfair for her to make the decision and expect you to stump up.

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