Creating a SuperKid

When I was a kid I remember being told “get outside and play, it’s a beautiful day! Just make sure you are home before dark”.  So off my sister and I would go.  We rode our bikes, climbed trees, built forts, knocked on neighbours doors, and on more then one occasion barely made it home before the sun went down. The weekends were for the cottage or visiting with family or friends.  I was never bored, and looking back I realize I was spoiled beyond belief.  I was enrolled in Brownies, but that’s about it.  We turned out just fine.  Truly.

Fast forward 30 years and I look at my dear daughters schedule.  Our family life is very different.  Between Gymnastics three times per week for one child, and piano and dance class for the other, we are out of the house for activities 5 times per week. Truth be told if the girls had it their way, guitar lessons, singing lessons and synchronized swimming would all be added to this list!  I am a Mama who is strongly resisting any more extra curricular activities.  Turns out, in our neighbourhood, I am in the minority?

When I balked at adding more to my daughters “to do” lists, I was met with “But Mom…Sarah takes Gym, piano, Chinese lessons, swimming, soccer, brownies and singing.”  Yep, something every single night.   So when does this kid eat, play, do homework, veg?  Just be a kid? 

Kids in the Suburbs are quickly being forced to compete to survive.  You want a chance at making that Theatre Group? You better have taken dance and singing or forget it.  Want an “A” in Phys-Ed, or an edge to make the school teams?  Well I hope your Mom had the foresight to get you some extra skating—soccer—volleyball—basketball- help, otherwise you don’t have a chance!

You are not in ANY extra curricular activities? Huh.  Noses in the Suburbs scrape the sky. Clearly “we” are doing more for our child then you are doing for yours.  Don’t you want the best for your child?? Is the general thought.

Stop the insanity!

I for one am putting my foot down.  I’m helping my children find a balance between school life and the activities they love.  I want them to know how to play by themselves, to be able to enjoy unstructured time.  I want them to lie in the grass with nothing more to do then count the clouds, to build snow forts until their hands are numb, to ride their bikes and race home to barely make it home before dark.

Go ahead…..call me a bad Mama.  I’m over the “super schedule” I don’t need to create SuperKids, I already have two…..just the way they are.

 

I’m off at BlisdomCanada. Promise to be back visiting next week:)



Comments

  1. I can so relate to this post. It was the same for me, never bored when I was young and always found something to do. But we lived a different life back then, I was a townie whereas now I’m a country bumpkin! And so is Amy. Where we live it isn’t that easy.

    Kids at Amy’s school do so many extra curricular activities that I can’t keep up. To be honest, sometimes I get annoyed with it even though it’s nothing to do with me. Amy never seems bothered about competiting but for some kids I feel like just saying; what’s wrong with being a kid?

    CJ xx

  2. way to put your foot down…my boys are just getting to that age so we have limited it to one…my oldest wants to ride horses and my youngest snowboarding lessons…guess i may need to up the insurance…

  3. Hi! superkid? not a fan. I toowant my kids to have activities like these, but doing all? A no-no for my husband and I. We just let tem play and be kids for the meantime and no forced them to do this and that.
    And I think later in life they’ll be fed up with so much activities. Let the kids play don’t put too much pressure. There’ll be more if your an adult.

  4. I think this makes you a great mom! I think kids are overbooked these days.

  5. I whole-heartedly agree! And I have experienced it first-hand, too. (It could be worse, though, I have a friend who’s moved to a very uppity neighbourhood just outside San Francisco. Apparently, her son’s peers (all 7 years old) are in activities such as fencing and public speaking/debating. Too. Much.

    I want to raise kids who also know how to be creative with their free time. If I have them scheduled into umpteen things, then they may feel a certain entitlement to be “entertained” or scheduled all the time. They need to use their own noggins occasionally to self-entertain (without the use of some sort of electronic device with a screen/buttons). God forbid if they are ever *bored*! They might have to use their imaginations…that’s not useful in life at all…

    Thanks for posting this!

  6. Lu gets to pick 2 activities which run 3 days a week (skating 2times) and Gymnastics once. It’s too much as it is! But like your girls she would pick to do million more if we let her.

    I agree that they should not be over scheduled, and have time to ENJOY life as a kid 🙂

    PS Have fun at Blissdom!

  7. OMG Thank you for this post! I share your sentiments. I have 4 kids one plays football, one is in dance and one plays b-ball. That is too much already. I mean on activity days there is no time to cook do homework or even just chill.

    I have a fiend that has her kids in like 5 things each. They are always on the go and stressed out. I hate when parents do that. It really isn’t about the kids at all. These parents are competing with each other and living out their dreams through their kids. I bet if you ask the kids they would prefer to focus on one activity or none at all.

    Go the hell outside and just play already!

  8. actually i think you are an awesome mom for standing your ground on this one.. i so agree!!

    i know this one mother who has a 4 year old.. and no lie.. this poor practically STILL a toddler has a music lesson.. tumbling.. and tap dancing.. for reals??? SHE’S FOUR!!!

  9. I’m so with you on this topic. The over-scheduling was just ramping up when mine was small. I had friends who put their 3 years olds into sports. Seriously? I waited until mine was old enough to ask – which was around 2nd grade. And we only had one activity/sport at a time. Guess what? He’s fine.

    If you over-schedule kids they can become stressed and over-tired; which is never a good thing.

  10. I LOVE this! It is so true and I see so many people fall into this! 🙂

  11. Very true. I remember my mother booting us out everyday & we’d have to find our own entertainment. We’d be gone for hours & always had a blast. Things are so different now.

  12. I don’t have kids, but this is one of the things I dread about it. I’m all for giving kids downtime. They have their whole adult life to be overworked!

  13. You are preaching to the choir with me on this one. I have been a firm believer in making sure my kids have unscheduled time since the get-go. It’s so important to their development. Our generation is going to raise a new generation that won’t know what to do without direction–and that’s a mistake. Good for you!

  14. I completely 100% agree. However, I’m not a mom in the burbs (although I wish I was) and other mom around here aren’t like that. We are a military family so honeslty no one is like that. My in laws are like whatyou have described though. Sometime I feel judged by them (which lets face it, I probably am) but thats okay because my kids are happy and healthy.

  15. Love this! I can remember those days of playing outdoor using my imagination. At three, The Girls are already schedule heavy…

  16. You might have to change your title to “Really Good Mom”. ; )

  17. I completely agree. Kids are pushed to the max these days and don’t have time to be kids.

  18. Good call, from a good mom!!

  19. Good for you!! I totally agree with you. While we aren’t there quite yet, my daughter is only 22 months old, ALREADY there exists pressure for her to be MORE INVOLVED!! Pfft! No way, like you I recall my childhood with warm remembrance of imagination, creativity, freedom…FUN and LEARNING!!

    Loved this!!

  20. I totally agree. I find the balance so hard because the kids would love to try everything & I want to offer them every option & opportunity possible but I’ve kept it to 2 activities per kid. When home we work through homework & play, being a kid goes so quickly.

  21. Man how the times have changed! I think it’s great that you’re not being like tons of other mothers out there.

    A LOT of mom’s want their kids to become super famous for their OWN benefit and they push and push their kids!

  22. Woman, you’re preaching to the choir. It’s unbelievable what these people do in suburbia hell to get their kids the “in”… what’s sad is when there are ones with just natural God-given talent and people don’t understand how they can DO that WITHOUT all the extra dinero flying out for it!

  23. Things were the same in my day. You either went out on your own, or mom sent you out. There were no fears about strangers or abductions. No cell phones either. You were gone all day and there was no checking in. You just knew to be home for dinner. That’s the way it was. And maybe once a week you went somewhere for that extracurricular activity. And guess what….we turned out just fine.

  24. I agree with you 100%%%%
    I have never over scheduled my kids, I love for them to have ‘down time’…you know to chill out, read a book, play in the pool, be a kid.

    I see folks raising their kids over scheduled and really, NONE of them look very happy.

  25. so true. My dh and I were just discussing this. My son wants to play baseball but my dh is so mad that want so much family time from us. 3 hours on saturday, 3 hours on sunday, 2 hour practices 2x a week too so thats 10 hours a week of basbeall…ITS TOO MUCH! I feel like i am the only parent that thinks this. I would be fine iwth just 1 hour on saturday not flippin 10 hours a week. Then of course my oldest has girl scouts, my younger son has soccer, etc where is family time?

    It is a major issues lately in our home. yet I feel like I am not doing enough per kid etc.

  26. I second EVERYTHING you just said. I think activities are important, but a 2 or 3 is a-ok.

  27. Totally agree..Activities are important but not to push them to unhappiness in a heavy schedule.

  28. Totally agree..Activities are important but not to push them to unhappiness in a heavy schedule.

  29. I am with you! I dont get why parents do that to their kids. They dont need to always be on the go like that. They need time with their friends, time to do the things they love…and time to just be kids!

  30. I’m with you. I remember having hours to just read and hang out. Enough is enough.

  31. I hear you there. My “goal” and “thoughts” right now are when my son is older he will get 1 MAYBE 2 activites per season. That is it. Be a kid, do some homework, get some sleep. Enjoy life.

  32. We had the exact same childhood – i remember having swimming lessons and the occasional skating lesson but that’s about it. our lives were too busy for extracurricular activities, how do today’s kids manage?? it’s insane!!

  33. Perfect post! 🙂

  34. The Husband and I are thinking that each girl can pick one big activity — like Mini Me has started ballet this year. They can focus on that year-round (or season-round if it’s a sport, as we think will be the case with L’il Bit), and they always have stuff going on at church too. We’re going to take things one thing at a time and let them lead us as to what they are REALLY interested in, and hopefully we’ll all manage some balance!

  35. Good for you. I agree, it is just too much stress at a young age. I too would be gone all day long playing. Not that I trust sending kids out today to be gone all day long but they need to be kids!

  36. I have family members who have their kids in everything…just like all the other moms in the hood. We, always the rebels, chose to raise our children differently. We went camping, had sleep-overs, tea parties and hayrides. The kids raised chickens, pigs and goats. Our fun was homemade and dirty. Our families worried that our children were missing out on “normal” kids lives and would not be successful because of it.

    Two of our boys are officers/helicopter pilots in the military, one graduating from the Naval Academy. The other owns his own business. Our older girls have great jobs and wonderful lives. They all own their own homes with no help from anyone.

    All that with loser parents. Who knew? 🙂

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