Ever met a ‘Taxi Mum’? A mother who’s in that stage of driving kids to and from after-school activities? And how many activities is too many? My oldest is 5 but I have lots of friends who are in what they like to call the ‘Taxi driver’ stage of Parenthood. You know the ones, when you ask for a ‘play date’ they have to consult their calendar and book you in 3 weeks in advance on a day when they’re not racing to gymnastics, piano, swimming or ballet.
It seems to be an exponential equation, the more kids you have, the more activities you’re involved in -especially once they enter the school years. My sister has four kids at school and they all do swimming plus 1 or 2 after-school activities. And one of them is a competitive gymnast! The logistics of it all is mind-boggling and I know when my mum ‘grammy’ helps out she needs it all written down!
It’s great when friends can take turns ferrying kids to and from activities as we do with some friends for our daughter’s gymnastics class. Maybe I’m slack but in efforts to conserve (her) energy and (our) money, we ask our daughter to choose only one activity per term. My husband thinks she should ‘commit’ and stick to something but at such a young age I’m happy for her to alternate between Hip Hop and Gymnastics. We usually do swim lessons on saturdays but are taking this term off to save money while our Earthquake-damaged house is getting sorted out.
So how many activities or hours a week is too many? Is it a combination of kids personality and energy, parental time and money? I think it’s a balance between giving them fun and valuable experiences and skills while also allowing them enough time to relax and play. Each term seems to cost just over $100 depending on the activity and then there’s extra travel or uniform/costume costs on top of that! And that’s just one activity for one child!
My friend’s child is a real bookworm and they like him to do team sports to encourage more social interaction. It’s a great idea to cater to the child’s individual needs. Here’s an interesting article about the best after-school activities for kids with ADHD.
It’s interesting to look back at our own childhoods and after-school activities. What ‘activities’ did you do as a child and what do you now wish you had tried? My sisters and I all did running and gymnastics. Retrospectively I wish I had done a more ‘team’ sport like soccer but hand-eye coordination and ball skills are were never my forte. Did you (parents) choose your child’s activity based on existing skills, skills that they could benefit from or did you sign them up for what you did (or wish you did) as a child?