Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Happened to Playing After School? Endless Camp and Activities Overload!

So this summer I tried repeatedly to line up play dates for my girls just to be told that between sports and summer camps they couldn't fit it in. So your 5 and 7yr old have such a packed summer schedule they cant fit in a play date to run around our backyard and just hang out?!

Towards the end of the school year I went over all the camp options and asked my girls which ones they wanted to do. I told them to pick a couple between 10 options! So I signed them up for a half-day week long art class, a nature camp and farm camp. They did the art camp together then each did their own camps respectively (one nature and one farm). I wanted to leave plenty of time for just regular play. I did not want my summer to consist of getting up and rushing out the door early every morning then bring back cranky kids to rush and make dinner on the go while driving to practice! I wanted to enjoy my summer and explore and have fun. We had a great summer!!!! But so many of my friends were non stop having kids in multiple things and then complain they have no time. Or we could not fit in a couple of hours of good ol' fashion play time where they just run around without scheduled activities! Seems like that summer is a thing of the past. Now its a competition to see how many camps and activities you can sign your future prodigy up for.

Now that school is back in we limited the girls to 1 activity. Our older daughter made the top select team around here that consist of 2 practices per week with games and tournaments on the weekend. Our other daughter is not in anything at the moment but looking to start gymnastics here soon. When my kids get off the bus its homework time and snack. Then hopefully some good playing outside with the neighbor kids. Being that our girls are only in the 1st and 2nd grade I feel its important they get enough rest for their bodies and minds so I try not to overload them. Ive contemplated introducing a musical instrument that would only be 30 minutes once a week but other than that its a 1 at a time activity-sport rule.

I am not trying to raise the next superstar I am just trying to raise happy and healthy kids. I encourage them to try new activities just to open their minds to new possibilities. If they don't have fun then at least they tried something new. I don't want to join the unspoken "How Does She Do It All or the Im Too Busy With Running Around Like A Maniac" club. Now I am not judging as each family should do what makes them happy and feel its best for their family. Im simply saying that is not what I want for mine. Even my own friends I always try to listen and encourage them for their choices but choose to have more time doing other things with my time. Between school, their 1 activity, being with my family (parents, uncle, ect), weekend games, going over to friends house, having them over for dinner we keep so busy I cant imagine adding on much more!!!! Its amazing how busy we are!!!!

I sure hope I can keep on this path. As kids get older I understand they get more involved and they can maintain their healthy habits and understand their limits more so than a 6 and 7yr old. As long as my kids are happy, healthy and kind I am very happy. As long as we for the most part stick to our routines (ready for bed by 8 then 20 mins reading in bed by 8:30) I feel they will have the sufficient amount of sleep to learn new information for the next day of school. Now sometimes this doesn't happen but for the most part I try to aim for that. Like I aim for healthy eating habits and treating people with kindness and respect. Those are the moments I am grateful to have more time just being at home.