Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Extra-murals at school, and kid busyness
Mandy wrote a post the other day about how busy the girls are and I remembered I wanted to talk about this busyness too.
I've always said I don't like kids to be too busy. Life is already busy enough so it takes conscious intention to be un-busy. Long-time readers may remember my babies did NO baby activities whatsoever - no Kindermusik, no babygym, no moms and tots, nothing. This was part...WTH - these are babies, people - and why would I want to make my life crazier by choice?!
Still, I believe they need to do something physical and while we're figuring out what they like to do, they chose two physical activities.
My kids do 3 extra-murals - chess, tennis and mini-cricket.
They offer these at the school, straight after school, and they are done an hour later.
My kids walk home from school so they get home just before 3. After undressing/ dressing, and then unpacking their bags and having a quick lunch, it's homework.
Then it's about 4:30 so they have 1/2 hour before baths.
I feel this is crazy.
It's way too much for 6 year-olds :)
I even said no to a weekday playdate except on a Friday and then again, not every Friday. I want them to relax and just run around the garden messing around.
Because I'm not messing with that homework schedule.
They are into it now (and of course, schools close next week) and seem to have no more trouble sitting still and getting to it.
Of the two, Connor is more focussed and Kendra is more....imaginative.
I keep reminding myself that my own handwriting was awful til I was about 8 and it just clicked for me.
I made a rule - if you say yes to it, you have to stick with it for at least one whole term. Like the Tiger Mother (ahem), I strongly believe that we only enjoy things when we have some mastery over it. I was mostly frustrated by my photography for years til I got good enough. Now I love it.
Kendra came home after ONE tennis lesson saying she was done. I overheard her telling D and was in the room pronto (before he could say "okay baby!") to remind her of our rules.
She then went to week 2 and came home loving it more.
So far they're enjoying all three of the extra-murals and thankfully, since we have to do nothing outside of school, we're enjoying it too.
Now here's the thing, and some of you will think we're crazy but oh well... we told the coach the kids can play mini-cricket but they can't play games on Saturdays.
We have a really nice family rhythm going on with family gym and we don't want to break that and start transporting kids all over Jhb from 7 - 10 every Sat morning.
Coach was fine with it but I've told nobody (except you!) for fear of something. Judgement?
American friends, South Africans are big sports fanatics (not me and D, obviously!).
My other friend MandyE said her girls don't do anything except one activity and she feels guilty sometimes too but wants to preserve their non-busyness.
MandyE, I'm with you! 100% all the way.
We've also stopped swimming lessons (unrelated to the busyness) but last weekend had such a nice laid-back day because we weren't rushing anywhere.
So where do you fall on the extra-murals spectrum?
All? Nothing? Somewhere in between?
PS I've just finished a fabulous book and Dr Leman said something I like - if you feel like your children are too busy, stop the activity!