Planning your kids extracurricular activities

by Wioletta Rehman
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The summer vacation soon will be over… school will start… New School Year, new school, new challenges.

My youngest daughter stays at the same daycare- this is great, as she does not do well with the changes. However, she is getting older and now is the time to sign her up for the additional activities. This should not be difficult as she is still very young, not so much homework, which means more free time

My concern is my older daughter, who is starting 1st grade. Am I overreacting? Not sure, but definitely need to make sure that activities will not be an issue, and are not unpleasant, forced thing to do after long day at school.

My husband and I both work full time, the kids are at school and in before and after school programs. I used to do activities in the evening, however that didn’t work very well all the time. My child will have some days when she was too tired to enjoy the piano, too annoyed to listen to the instructor and exhausted as the day was getting longer, maybe too long…

I personally like to have two additional activities per child. I am trying to introduce them to the different sports, art programs and letting them pick something that they will like and enjoy.

This year we have decided that we will leave the activities for the weekends only. My kids are still very young so either way I would need to leave the house. We may as well do something more productive.

I do strongly believe that swimming is extremely important, actually should be mandatory. This is a life skill and could save life in the future; hope it wont be needed. Therefore I signed them both for swimming class at the local community Centre. I have chosen classes that are basically at the same time with about 15 minutes difference between the sessions. That will give me the time to change them, this will be our Sunday.

On Saturday I have booked piano for my older daughter and skating for the younger one. The music school is across the street from the skating rink so that will save me lots on travel time! I have booked the classes in the morning so we still can do something else during the day, like play dates or outings.

I do believe in activities after school but don’t like forcing my kids. I definitively want them to have their hobby and now is the time to introduce them to a different activities. There is a small age gap between my kids, but they have such different personalities. Even though I would love my older daughter to learn how to skate, she refuses it and really doesn’t enjoy it. But I don’t let that stop my younger one, as she really enjoys it! I did explain them that it is ok to be different and not too worry about that.

As a parent we all know our kids and what will work for them. My friends have activities during the week or weekends. Everyone is different. It takes some time to see what works best for our kids… AND for us. For me additional activities should be a pleasure not “another thing to do”.

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