One of the many things that Lockdown and a forced slowing down of life has made us reflect upon is how much we would rush around to all the extra activities we booked to 'make them a well-rounded individual. One mother of two recently expressed that;
"I did not realise how much I was overloading my children until we had a chance to reflect".
So how much is too much? Surely extra-curricular activities can be categorised as more important now, with the added pressure of schools needing to catch up on core subjects, and some schools saying they are reducing the timetabling of our more creative subjects.
Dr.Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, has a simple set of questions to ask our children. “Can you still do your homework? Can you still get 8+ hours of sleep each night? Can you still be a part of your family? Can you still hang out with your friends? If the answer is ‘no’ to one or more of these, then it’s too much.” Taken from https://childmind.org/article/finding-the-balance-with-after-school-activities/.
In our family, we encourage at least one sport, one musical activity and an activity of choice.
My oldest son has tried so many different activities, gymnastics, theatre, trumpet, tennis, basketball, football, archery, many of which have been through holiday clubs and taster sessions.
Diagnosed with ADHD his journey has not been without his mishaps.
Football - took us 3 weeks for the coach to advise that maybe rugby was a better fit after he still kept picking the ball up and running away with it.
Swimming - 4 swim schools later finally learnt that other children do not want to play splash and tornadoes.
Theatre- To our shock, he was given a small part of PT Barnum in a holiday theatre group. He was very confident, too confident as the big 7- year old child who kept popping out behind the curtains to wave at us. Surprisingly we have been removed from the email sign up list.
Tennis - I got to know the hedges very well, as did you know 'Tennis is a game that you hit the play as hard as you can in any direction', and if someone in your group drops the ball that means bundle and the first to pick up gets the 'hit that ball as hard as they can in any direction'.
We have now committed to rugby, swimming (Life Skill), ad hoc music lessons with me, while we wait for drumming lessons, and a future promise that he can do Basketball. As our a 9-year-old boy his activity of choice, Surprise is Xbox.
We are just starting this journey with our 5-year-old son, so far, tennis is going well, swimming is improving, someone does not like getting their face wet.
Wish us luck x