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Moms Talk: How Many Children's Activities Can Parents Juggle?

And what should St. Louis moms and dads do if they're told a team won't happen unless they participate?

Suppose you've just signed up to be a room parent at your second-grader's St. Louis school. You are already the designated driver of neighborhood children because other parents say they're unable to take on that role.

Now your son comes home from school and tells you that if you don't coach soccer, he won't have a team on which to play. Other parents say they are working or too busy to do this for their kids.

So onto this week's question: What do you do about the soccer team?

Laura Falk September 07, 2011 at 12:39 PM
If it were up to me in this particular scenario, then the soccer team probably wouldn't happen. I'm all for my kids having a wide variety of experiences, but parents need to model good decision-making and time-management skills for their kids, and a totally overscheduled, frenetic mom (or dad) doesn't make anyone happy!
Martha Baur September 07, 2011 at 01:31 PM
Are you talking about me with that question? Ha Ha. Time management is key with children's activities these days and the parents' responsibilities related to them. There have been many times that I wished I could have helped out with something, but just couldn't make it work. Coaching a soccer team is intense, so If I couldn't dedicate the needed time, I would have to say no.
Haley Morgan September 07, 2011 at 05:53 PM
If the parent already feels spread to thin then for the sanity of the family they need to decline. It may also be a good opportunity to evalute and eliminate other actviites that are not as important to make room for those that are more worthwhile. My rule of thumb is one activity for every year of elementary school but no more than 3 or 4 depending on the amount of time each activity requires and these being activities the child wants to participate in. For example, in Kindergarten one extracurricular activity that requires on day after school a week is plenty especially if it requires practice like an instrument or it could mean soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. First grade you can add on more activity etc.. Again.. this is just a rule of thumb. Your child may not want to do but only one activity and that is fine too. I think you need to know your child and what they are able to handle and what you as a parent can commit too. I think we as parents feel pressured that if their child doesn't participate in everything when they are young they will fall behind or miss out. What we need to remember is that they have many years to grow and develop interests and there is no rush to do it all. The important thing is that it is an enjoyable experience for everyone.

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