Master one activity instead of signing up for so many

Posted by on May 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Master one activity instead of signing up for so many

, arts and media correspondent

A lot of people tell me they struggle with deciding which activities, and how many, to sign their kids up for. Before having kids, I couldn’t understand why people overbooked their 4 and 5 year olds, and had them driving around to so many activities that they couldn’t find a 30 minute break in the day to practice violin. Now I have a 5 year old and I have a better understanding. For one thing, as babies, we are with them ALL DAY LONG and the parents need social interaction, so we sign up for music class, go to the library story hour, tumbling class, art class, swim class, soccer, etc. I think these classes are as much for the parents as the kids. Once you have a school aged child who is is with his classmates at school all day, I think it’s time to focus on one or two activities. In our family, we’ve decided that it’s ok to sign up for one athletic type class (gymnastics) and one music class (violin). I believe it is better for kids to learn to do one thing really well, then to dabble in a bunch of classes for exposure. Occasionally I break that rule, for example I think it’s important to learn to swim, so I brought my kids to a short term swim class in addition to gymnastics.

I recently read an article by a violinist, Nicola Benedetti, who had the same philosophy about learning one thing really well. She said: “A lot of the most privileged children face far too many choices,” said Benedetti. “It is almost paralysing for children. It can disorient them like a constantly faulty light, flicking on and off.” She added that for her, “the most crucial thing is consistency if you ever want a child to have that feeling of satisfaction in their stomach when they have made something work because they stuck at it.”

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