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« 10 Things You Might Not Know About Me as I Turn 40 | Main | Fashion Friday - Headbands that look and feel good on your ears »
Wednesday
Jan262011

Taking a Break from After School Activities

 How many extracurricular activities do your kids have going on at one time?

One?
Two?
Three?

How many of those activities are held more than once a week?

Riding lessons

I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, After school activities are meant to enhance childhood learning and exploration, not cause stress. When our family is overwhelmed by activities, it can make homework time challenging, dinner time challenging, and it can definitely challenge my no-yelling resolution.

Saying no to activities does not mean saying yes to mom guilt.

For the Twofer, they seem to have a limit of two activities.
I discovered this last year when we simply took a break from all but one activity, brownies, which only met every other week.

Here were the deciding factors for us:

The girls were enrolled in three activities- brownies, ballet, and riding lessons.

They started riding as soon as the farm would allow, age 5.

Horseback riding is not an inexpensive activity.

Most people who run horse farms have never heard of a twin discount.

Having twins is an expensive activity at the tender age of 6, can make you question just how much a 1st grader 'needs' that activity.

They loved it but we took a break.

I was worried they might be bored. I was worried they would miss horseback riding. I was worried I was forever damaging my children by actually telling them they couldn't do something {gasp}.

Who had I become? I tell my kids no all the time but because this decision was largely a financial one I felt guilty?

I realized my gut was right even if my brain wasn't entirely on board.
 

Taking an activity break can make life easier financially, and emotionally.


For us it meant an extra $1000 in our pocket (I told you riding is expensive between lessons, boots, helmets, and if you participate in shows). However taking a break from riding gave us more time to spend with each other. It eliminated the stress of having to rush through homework to get to an activity. It gave us more time to connect with each other at the dinner table. And mom didn't yell as much.


Here is what happened when we took the break.


As 'walkers' (we live close enough to walk to school) the girls had more opportunity for last-minute play dates with friends.

We rediscovered the local library weekly...something we had always done during preschool days.

We ran errands together and the girls often had time with The Mister.

We cooked dinner together.

Then we actually had time to sit down and enjoy it´╗┐.

Have you taken a break or cut back on your child's activity load? I'd love to hear how it went!

Janine

Reader Comments (1)

I really wish I could get my son to do extra activities, but it just is not his thing. We have tried a few times, but it just didn't work for him. I did find your results interesting though because they sound like what we have always had with my son since he doesn't do activities to start with. Some of my friends seem to constantly be running around taking kids to events, but it always seemed to me they were missing out on that actual family time with the kids and just hanging out. Nice to see you found out the same!

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