Extracurricular Overload

Photo by Jason Britton

I recently had a conversation with a mom and good friend about how busy we are. The fact that we were together to actually talk about this in person was a minor scheduling miracle in itself. She told me that between her part-time work and juggling raising her family, she was driving her three children everywhere for their extracurricular activities. All three kids had two, sometimes three activities during the week. Her eldest was now in a sport that was requiring extensive travel outside the city almost every weekend.

My four-year-old takes swimming lessons. That’s it. But I often feel pressure to put her in more despite the fact that she hasn’t asked me to. It’s then that I try to remember what my own mom did when I was a kid. She pulled out the Parks & Rec book when it arrived and other than the requisite swimming lessons (so I wouldn’t sink like a stone at the pool), she let me choose one activity per season. And this was way before the time of chauffeuring kids everywhere. We lived in walking distance to the rec centre and if I didn’t walk or get on my bike to go, well tough cookies for me, I missed the class.

So I wonder, is one activity not enough? Am I the only mom out there who feels that less might be more when it comes to filling up my child’s schedule? Or am I in for a deluge of requests from my girl to sign up for more things as she gets older and realizes she wants to do what all her friends are doing?

—Robin, Canadian Family’s senior editor

Check out this article for some helpful hints on how to balance extracurriculars and family life.

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