Sometimes As Parents, We Make Mistakes….

And today Walter and I realized that we almost made a big one!

One of the things that I love about Ava’s school is the wide variety of extra mural activities they offer. Currently Ava participates in Be Sharp Beetles, Swimming and Super Kids. She loves them all and each one of them teaches her something different. Be Sharp Beetles teaches music and movement class, this is how they describe it:

Music is our universal language, the language of our imaginations. Movement is the rhythmic language of the 5-year-old using her body to re-create the graceful movements of a swimming dolphin. Music is the lullaby of a father singing to his infant while communicating tenderness and love. The language of movement is revealed through the dancers who choose not to be restrained by convention as they represent their understanding of space, time and form in ways that are personally satisfying and pleasing. Music is the language of children adding original lyrics and new melodies to a familiar song.

Ava has been participating in music and movement classes since before she was even mobile, so it made sense for us to carry on with these classes when she started school as part of the school’s activities. But for a while now we’ve been thinking about dropping Be Sharp Beetles as we also don’t want to over burden her with too many extra mural activities and we were having a tough time deciding what to drop. Swimming is a no brainer, she has to know how to swim and she has shown a natural ability towards sports with excellent co-ordination and ball skills, far beyond her age, the kid can hit a golf ball with a golf stick for goodness sakes. Because sport played such a big part in both mine and Walter’s school career’s, we really want to encourage her to have a love of sport. So the obvious extra mural activity to drop was Be Sharp Beetles.

That is till we got to view the class this morning at parents day! The look on my child’s face while she participated was one of pure joy and there is now way, after watching her today, that we could possibly drop this activity either!

Now the question is…. how many extra mural activities is too much? I don’t want Ava to be one of those over scheduled children with no time to just play and be!


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  • Reply Jenny

    I wish I had this problem! I have to beg my son to take part in anything extra – hopefully my daughter will be a bit more interested.

    November 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Sian

    Does she say that she is doing too much? If not, maybe leave it as is and don’t add anymore. Just thinking.

    November 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm
  • Reply CharlieW

    So looks so happy!! 🙂

    November 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    We also had our Be Sharp Beetles concert this morning – it is so delightful – and they just love it so much. I don’t know the answer to how much is too much – but maybe we should trust ourselves and trust them too? They’ll tell us as they grow older what they no longer want to participate in. Or at least, I’m hoping so 🙂

    November 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    At our new school they advise not more than 2 per week but I also don’t want her to miss out on anything that she might enjoy! So I am not counting swimming as it is a necessity. I also agree, if she loves them and is enjoying them I see no harm. If when they are older and have homework and extra murals and no time to play and just be kids then I will rethink as I think they need unscheduled time as well. By the way, you can see she is loving every minute!

    November 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply Julia

    Mmmm…it’s difficult to say but I DO think that it depends on the child and what they can manage. Child1 is a sensory seeker. I had no issues overloading him, in fact at one stage we were doing 4 extra-murals. My DH and I were comfortable with that decision because all of these happened AT THE SCHOOL, during the school day (a different one on each day) and he coped really well. However, now that he is at school I simply can’t allow it because he also has to keep up with his schooling and projects and have time to study for tests etc.

    Child2 on the other hand can’t handle too much sensory input, so I couldn’t possibly allow for him what I allowed for Child1. And I’m VERY specific with what I allow for him. This year he didn’t do any extra-murals because we couldn’t quite figure out what would work for him and what he would be OK with. Next year, we’ll introduce ball skills or something for him.

    I don’t believe that kids need to be overloaded but, on the other hand it does depend on what the child is comfortable with and what you as the parent are comfortable with allowing so basically I would say that you need to play it by ear and take it from there.

    btw… I LOVE these pics!

    November 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply Coco

    She looks so happy! I do not know what super kids is, but her activities does not sound like it is hard work (not like piano lessons where she has to go home and practice). The activities still border on play time, I say let her do all three if she does not like it she will tell you and if she wants to do something new tell her she must then drop one activity. Sharon she is gorgeous!!

    November 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm
  • Reply Mash

    Maybe ask her? Speak about each activity one by one and ask which is her favourite etc. See what comes out…

    My sister is a nursery school teacher and one of the things she always mentions is that children today don’t have enough unstructured play. She had a mom come to her about a problem child, and she asked her if the child ever had play dates. The mom didn’t know what that was! She was so busy trying to make her child the best at everything and enrolling her in everything.

    Now I’m not saying that you are like that at all – but I guess if it was me, I would be asking the question about what the balance in her life is between structured and unstructured play. And you know what, if she loves everything she is doing, maybe you can just leave as is? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

    November 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm
  • Reply Robyn

    I personally think at this age its all fun fun fun! It’s not intense training or stressful on their mental abilities – if that makes sense. It really is just fun, so I let Liam do as many things as he likes. As he gets a bit older, we’ll narrow things down so as to focus on things he really likes, or is particularly good at and take it from there. If I could afford to, I would seriously let my kids do EVERYTHING at this age!

    November 29, 2012 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply charne

    My personal opinion, is that they having FUN so it doesn’t feel like work or a burden to them…. In my personal experience Em sees her extra murals as playtime.. May be structed but is still play for her

    November 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm
  • Reply Maggie

    I don’t think it’s too much. If she complains about not liking a particular activity, then it might be time to reconsider. But if she’s enjoying it that much and it’s enriching her life, can that be a bad thing?
    I don’t think you’re anywhere near overburdening her. Sheesh, the schedules of some kids leave my head spinning.

    November 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply Maggie

    Love the photo’s btw. Really made me smile 🙂

    November 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm
  • Reply Denise

    I’d say too many is when the child is reluctant to go. As long as they are having fun there can’t be an issue. As with anything in parenting there isn’t a magic no or magic formula and we have to rely on our gut… Which you and Walter are doing really well.

    November 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm
  • Reply kristi fraser

    i know of a family where the kids are busy all the time and they are still young, their mom just moves them from one activity to the next, and when they get home they have online courses in different things too, i feel its sad, this is their childhood but they are not getting to have one, there is no time for just playing or being a child, Your little one seems to have a good balance, and she is happy.

    November 30, 2012 at 12:22 am
  • Reply Liesel Grobler (Be Sharp Beetles Programme Director)

    I am so happy that you enjoyed the activity and saw the joy and delight on your child’s face. Music and Movement is as essential to a child’s development as is swimming. When we expose children to musical activities we start developing a child’s intuition and creative abilities which enables them to solve problems and think. We live in a society where it is essential that we can think creatively and solve problems as our world changes on a daily basis and for our children to thrive they need to be able to solve problems, tap into their intuition and think creatively. Not only is it about your child learning “musical skills”… it is about enabling your child to go into the future creatively, passionately, joyously and creatively.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Lisa-Marie

    This is ALWAYS such a toughie for me too. My niece and nephew – as far as I’m concerned – are WAY too busy. Karate lessons (him), singing lessons (both), dancing (her), racing (him) – they are occupied virtually every afternoon and on weekends too. (a) They are exhausted when it comes to homework time and (b) have they had the time to be children??

    I’m all for extra-mural activities, but I do think that too many can be more of a burden than anything else. I think that it’s up to each individual set of parents to observe how their children are coping and then take it from there.

    For the moment – I really don’t think that Ava is doing too much!

    Oh – and hello? It’s a golf CLUB not a golf STICK! lol!! Travers would have a mini-cadenza were he to see that! Heh heh heh… It’s also my way of teasing him!


    November 30, 2012 at 11:13 am
  • Reply Laura

    She does 3? That is fine for her right now. I wouldn’t add another one though.

    As she gets older there may come a time where she tells you she has had enough of one.

    I limit Cameron to 2 extra muruals now but then we have school pressure as well.

    November 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm
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