Should I sign my child up for activities?
Real Mom Problem
“I must admit my son is not involved in any activities and I kind of feel bad. Do you think it is important that your child is involved in activities? Why or why not?”
- 1. Activities can help boost self-confidence, teach teamwork and leadership skills, and build friendships
- 2. Allowing your child to choose an activity can help ensure it's something he's interested in
- 3. If money or time constraints are causing stress on your family, you might consider limiting activities
- 4. There are ways to foster a child's interests outside of organized activities
- 5. Encourage your child and offer a wide variety of choices, but try to resist forcing a reluctant child to participate
Real Mom Solutions
Trying to find a balance between couch potato and overscheduled kid? See what works for the moms of CafeMom before deciding which -- if any -- activities are right for your child.
Some Moms Think Activities Are Nice but not Necessary
I think it's important that they are involved in something. I don't care if it's sports, Scouts, science club, whatever. But they need to do something. However, if it was going to compromise my family financially, I wouldn't push it. Having a happy home and family life is more important than kid activities.
My daughter surfs. That is enough activity for me. I am putting her on a swim team at the YMCA because I need her to be a much stronger swimmer if she is going to compete (which she wants to do). I am not putting her in for sportsmanship or friendship. I don't think it is important as long as you have healthy, well rounded kids.
In a way I do think it's important, it helps make friends and can be a great motivator for behavior and school work. I don't think it's a necessity though.
I think it is important to recognize their talents and provide opportunities for them. It doesn't have to be organized. My daughter loves art so we buy her art supplies.
While I think activities are great for kids, I also don't think it's the end of the world if kids aren't in an activity. I think some parents have the idea that their child is going to grow up with some huge disadvantage in life if they aren't involved in an organized activity every waking moment they're not in school, but I don't feel that way. Every family has to do what works for them time and money wise. I would not force either of my kids to participate in an activity they hate, either.
My daughter has no interest now, and I will not push it. She tried soccer last year and absolutely hated it. I offer dance, ice skating, tumbling, etc. but she has no interest.
We leave it up to our kids. If they are interested in signing up for something we will check it out/sign them up. Our only rule is you have to finish out the season.
Other Moms Feel Activities Are Important
I think it's very important. While some kids can have bad experiences, overall, I think the lessons they learn are valuable. Our kids are always involved in something (of their choice) but I am careful to make sure they aren't overscheduled.
I think it is extremely important. Kids need to be well rounded. I really like the idea of trying new things. My oldest is not very athletic but he will give almost anything a try. I would recommend kids do at least karate or something similar to Boy Scouts. It is important for kids to try things that build character and self-esteem. My parents never had me involved in anything and I think I really missed out. Karate is not something that is easy for us to afford but its rewards have been boundless. I also hear a lot of good things about 4-H as well.
While I think it's very important that a child not be overscheduled and that they have time to just *be,* I do think it's valuable to have a child involved in some type of activity. We encourage our kids to pick at least one thing but no more than three at one time - depending on the time commitment of each.
Looking ahead, colleges are seeking students that have more than just academics. What my kid does in elementary school does not impact their college applications BUT being involved and exploring new opportunities goes a long way in setting up the habit of being involved. More importantly, having activity outside of school helps children build friendships, gives them an outlet to explore topics and things beyond the classroom, and contributes to self-esteem, etc.
What my kids do is completely up to them. We will give them an idea of what's available and we'll talk about what we're willing to pay for or commit to in regards to time.
My kids do one sport a season. I have three school age kids and I find ways to get the money, my mother never had time or cared if I was in any sports so I let my kids do as much as they can as long as their school work is good. They also play musical instruments during the school year and are in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. We try to stay busy so they don't get bored and play too many video games.
My kids started young and have continued because I wanted them good enough to make their junior high and high school teams. Studies show that kids who are involved in extracurriculars are more successful and I KNOW that to be true. My daughter is in theater and dance and swims on the swim team in the summer. My boys play basketball and football year round and also swim on the swim team.
Being involved in activities is very important; doubly so since we homeschool. Interacting with kids of a variety of ages is important; learning to win/lose gracefully, etc. They are required to be in Scouts and a sport. The sport they choose is entirely up to them. Right now I have kids in karate, gymnastics and parkour/freerunning.
I think it's important for a child to participate in at least one activity. It doesn't have to be a sport, but they should do something. It helps them make friends, builds self-esteem, and helps teach teamwork and perseverance.
I do think that belonging to something or being involved helps a child (and adult) develop self worth and a sense of importance and belonging. I don't think it matters what it is that the child chooses, but they should choose something. My son tried just about everything that was offered. My daughter on the other hand quit when she got to high school and she kind of became a slug. She went to school, came home, did homework, and didn't seem to be too excited about life in general. That said, I think the child should have a choice in their activities and should not be run ragged participating in too many things that it causes stress on them or the family. The activities don't have to be super competitive. We made a point that whatever the activity was that the kids chose, it was their activity (NOT mine or my husband's). We paid the fees and got them what they needed, dropped them off, and gave help to the coaches/leaders when requested, but it was not our activity to participate in!
I think it's good for children to find something that they are interested in outside of school and home. It could be sports, Scouts, clubs, anything extracurricular that they enjoy. I know when I was growing up I wasn't involved in much. Partly because I was so shy that I was too afraid to join. Partly because I had low self-esteem and didn't feel like I was good enough for those sorts of things. But the truth is if I had joined something it most likely would've made me feel like I 'fit in' somewhere and would've probably made it easier for me to make friends. Only when I was in eighth grade did I join in a couple things. I do have to say that I cherish my eighth grade year above all other years in school and I think in part it was because I belonged to something. I found something that I really enjoyed and had a lot of fun doing. That was an invaluable experience in my childhood.
I've seen the benefits in my child when she is in activities. She was a very shy/timid child and they helped her socialize and come out of her shell A LOT! We don't push her to do an activity she's not interested in, but we do support her in any activity she wants to try.