Multiple Activities

A mother of multiples posted something on the ever-present FB about having her kids in activities…when it’s appropriate, if they really need it, when there’s time, etc.

It got me thinking.

Do these kids really need activities?

Who can afford all of this?

Who has TIME for all of this?

Then I started thinking about the Crazies’ schedule.

We started them in a music class at 7 months.

They both started “school” at 2 years old.

First Day
Last Day

Hailey started ballet when she was 2 and a half.

They both participated in summer camps this summer at our health club.

This Fall, they both have swim class, preschool, tae kwon do, and Hailey is continuing with ballet.

Have I turned into the people that I used to make fun of?  Some overscheduled nutjob mother lugging her toddlers all over town?  What’s next?  A yellow “Mom’s Taxi” magnet?  (for the record, I will never have one of those)

Are the Crazies overscheduled?

Is any of this even making a difference???

I mean, let’s face it…they’re THREE!

Then I really started to reevaluate my opinion on activities.

In my mind, these activities were amazing socialization opportunities…I don’t work during the day.  It’s just me and the Crazies.  I’m pretty sure they tire of my antics by 9:30, so we definitely need some outside stimulation.

Matthew is a very dominant personality.  For a long time, it seemed as if Hailey was behind his shadow in a lot of ways.  Since she started dance and performed in a recital in front of hundreds of people, she really has come into her own.  She’s more vocal, opinionated, and confident.  Sometimes the “opinionated” part is a little much, but that is what’s supposed to happen as they grow, right?

Hailey generally takes direction very well, but Matt needs some work.  It has been a miracle to see what he’s learned from other people.  He has thrown himself wholeheartedly into projects during camp and actually corrected Hailey’s behavior at the lunch table yesterday quoting something they learned in Circle Time.  He needs to see other adults as authority figures and realize that he can learn from them.  The socialization for him has been wonderful as well…it’s great to see him work with other kids.

Then, as usual, it comes down to what I need or want.  I need time away from the Crazies to ensure that I am the mother I want to be all day long.  It is a long day (especially in the Winter) and if I can get a break, I’m going to take it.  It’s better for all of us.  I want the Crazies to learn as much as they can in this world.  If that means tutoring an extra student so we can afford a certain class, I am willing to do that…after all, I can’t teach Hailey a pirouette…that would NOT be pretty.

One saving grace has been asking for discounts.  Most companies will offer sibling discounts.  Also, when looking for a health club, it was very attractive to us that ours offered multiple activities for children…and we had just gotten married.  We also participate in a lot of the workshops offered by our public library.  That’s how we found the tae kwon do class…after all, I wasn’t about to drop money on a class without first seeing how it would be run…and it was amazing.  If you’re unsure, you can always ask to participate in a class so you can see what it’s all about.  Many companies will allow you to do this.

I also think things would be different if I worked during the day.  At that point, your kids are getting a good deal of socialization at day care, all you want to do is spend time with them once you get home, and there just isn’t time.  At that point, time together as a family would definitely take precedence over pirouettes.

Okay, now I want your thoughts? 

What do you do with your kids? 

Do you feel pressure to participate in certain activities?

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  1. When my twins were little, we were out all the time! I couldn’t stay inside with them. I had a schedule and every week, if there were any gaps morning or afternoon, I’d start emailing other people. It was the only way we stayed sane. Walks, park playdates, other people’s houses, (occasionally our own so we got invited to other people’s,) classes. The kids loved the stimulation and I loved not having to find something interesting to entertain them. I never felt pressured except by myself. 🙂
    Alison Golden – The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman recently posted…19 Ways to Create Sustaining Success In Your KidsMy Profile

  2. My triplets are 3 1/2 years old. They go to school 3 mornings/week plus have 1 hr of dance and 1 hr of soccer every week. We were also wondering if they’re overextended, but they don’t act that way and if they were home instead of out and about, they would be BORED. Since we’ve given up binkies, they’ve given up napping, so they spend their afternoons playing with toys, each other, me, watching TV, etc. There’s only so much “home time” the 4 of us (including me!) can take … I need a break from them and they need a break from me, so I feel their involvement is a good thing for all of us.

    • I started getting them involved when they were close to 2 years old. They went to music class, which they kind of liked and I really enjoyed (we could get out and I could handle them myself in the setting). We also did My Gym at that age, which they loved, but was very hard for me to control them in that setting. I would not recommend it for anyone with more than twins unless there’s a mother’s helper with you …

    • OMG…since you’ve given up binkies, they’ve given up napping??? The horror!

  3. I haven’t gotten the girls (currently 2 1/2) involved in many activities outside of the occasional story time. If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s because I’m afraid I can’t wrangle both of them during a Mommy-and-Me-type set-up.

    We’re definitively planning to start the girls in preschool at 3 1/2, and I’m not sure what will happen between now and then. Heaven knows I would love the break…and I know it would be good for them for all the reasons you cited…but I am just playing it by ear at this point.
    MandyE recently posted…The Value of MoneyMy Profile

    • See, I also think it depends on the Mom…you do a lot of exposing your girls to different things. The Mommy-and-Me set up can be difficult at first, but you get the hang of it…especially at your girls’ age. I don’t know what I was thinking at 7 months!

  4. Part of me would love to put my kids in more activities but with work for both of us parents and daycare and now Kdg for the older 2, its hard to fit it all in. I like being an active person and am pretty social and am glad that we’re able to participate in the things we do. I see my kids being well rounded, confident and willing to try new things due to their exposure to daycare and the many play dates and activities we’ve done over the years.

    I don’t want to be “over scheduled” for their sake or mine. Like I said, with work for me and school/daycare for them – we all need some down time at home – but I also know we’re all having fun when we get to DO more stuff.

    • I feel like daycare is one big activity though. They do so much at most of those centers and they are getting exposure to a ton of things…that’s just my opinion though!

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