Should I enroll my toddler or preschooler in activities outside of the home?
Real Mom Problem
“Is it worth the money to sign my little one up for a class?”
- 1. Look for activities that seem suited to your child's personality, energy level, and attention span
- 2. Gauge their interest level by introducing your kids to a variety of sports, activities, and music at home
- 3. Start with just one activity and see how it goes
- 4. Don't force them. It should be fun, not stressful
Real Mom Solutions
Organized activities offer toddlers the chance to socialize, learn new skills, and gain confidence (and can be a great break for mom!), but it's important to determine if your child seems ready before signing him or her up for a class. If they are ready, CafeMoms most commonly recommend: dance, Gymboree, gymnastics, hockey, ice skating, karate, music, soccer, swim lessons, and T-ball. See how other moms have handled introducing their toddlers to organized activities.
They'll Learn Valuable Lessons
Oh yeah! My 3 year old daughter is a VERY active little girl and natural social butterfly. She's an only child and I truly believe, because of her nature, if we didn't have her in activities, it would hinder her in some developmental areas.
I think activities for kids are a great way for them to grow! I won't push them or force them to do anything they don't want to. But if they ask I'm all for it! I couldn't growing up, always heard "we can't afford it", so I'm excited when my kids ask to do stuff like dance
I feel activities teach many valuable lessons: teamwork, commitment, sportsmanship, encouragement. My children have become very confident children who feel they can tackle anything. Plus my kids can make friends quickly because new children are always coming into the mix. My take on it is, if you can afford the time and money to place your children into something, do.
They'll Miss Out On Time With You
My daughter is not enrolled in activities right now. She is just having fun being little. I am already a slave to my 14 year old's sports schedules. I am not interested in adding in another sports schedule yet (or the cost!). Our rule is only ONE activity at a time for each kid.
You know, I've learned over the years, time goes way too fast. The kids grow up and get involved in way too many things. I have my 4 year old in weeball and gymnastics once a week because she enjoys it, but for the most part, I'm just planning on letting her play a lot outside; swimming, riding bikes, taking walks. I just want to spend time with her as much as we can.
I have looked at what classes offer and I simulate it at home. I think exposing them to a variety of life experiences as they are ready to handle them is most important and I love that I'm sharing the experience. If you're participating with your child they will learn as much or more than expensive programs and you'll save money and gain wonderful memories!
Give It A Try But Don't Overdo It
I will only allow my children to do 2 activities at a time. They need to have time at home where they can spend time with you. You don't want to over schedule your kids. While it's great to expose them to different things (which I am all for) I believe it needs to be done in moderation like everything else in this world.
My toddler was so easily over stimulated, if we did anything, it was one activity at a time, and I mostly let him play at home. I figured going to daycare every day was activity enough and he needed the down time.
Depending on the energy level of your child, you may want to start out with as few as possible. Most children will grow tired of something rather fast, and want to move on to the next thing. If you really want your child to be involved in more than one activity at a time, maybe pick one that is high energy and one that is more low key.