I struggle with finding balance every day as a mom. Screen time versus reading time. Veggies versus sweets. If she eats chicken nuggets one more time, what healthy option can I give her tomorrow? My latest struggle is with scheduling activities; how much is too much?
Let’s Try Everything!
Playing a sport or taking a dance class wasn’t an option for me as a kid; it wasn’t in the budget. So if my daughter says she wants to try something, I make it happen. When she was younger, and they were still in business, we were regulars at PlayAway for music classes as well as princess dance classes. My daughter loved those classes. We also regularly attended Arts A Blaze‘s preschool story time where the kids get to paint a piece of pottery and hear a story. Check those classes out if you have a preschooler.
At 3 she wanted to try gymnastics. After a month of classes at the YMCA, she said it wasn’t for her. She loved her yoga classes, but when her teacher moved, she didn’t want to continue. Then it seemed she wanted to try everything! Some of the activities I said a flat out ‘no’ to, like rock climbing and motocross, but others I’ve considered and am still considering. Soccer, t-ball, cooking classes, karate and ice skating are just a few of the options I have resisted. As friends were signing their children up for activities this summer, I took some time to reconsider our schedule. My daughter started kindergarten this year and I knew that the transition from preschool to big school would be challenging. I had a dose of the reality of over scheduling last year with dance classes and I definitely did not want to repeat it this year.
Hip Hop Happens
Last year, my daughter wanted to take ballet class. I talked with several friends and found one that fit our schedule. But then she heard that two of her friends would be taking hip hop class instead of ballet. I thought she would want to switch to hip hop class, but no, she wanted to do BOTH classes. In fact, she was emphatic about it. I spoke with the wonderful director at her dance studio, Beyond Dancing, and signed her up for both classes. Everything was going great until midway through the year.
She didn’t want to go to hip hop. I felt stuck. Do I make her finish out the commitment or do I let her walk away from the class? Right or wrong, I made her finish the class. She had a blast performing in the recital, even if she wasn’t a fan of the costume and wanted to wear her ballet tutu instead. But getting her to class every week was a colossal headache. It wasn’t the class she didn’t like, it was the time commitment.
My girl has been taking swim lessons since she was 2 years old. Her lack of fear of water scared me, so I knew I needed her to know how to swim. She takes lessons at School of Fish. In the beginning, the classes were mommy-and-me. She was a Goldfish level, but she has come so far. Miss Maria Barringhaus is incredible and we’ve been back for lessons every summer. My kid is still unafraid of the water, but she respects it and her limitations. Miss Maria is an incredible swim teacher with amazing patience (probably because she teaches elementary school during the year!) and the other teachers at the school are equally as skilled at getting your kid to actually swim.
This summer my girl has started using actual swim strokes. Watching her swim the length of the backyard pool using the butterfly stroke?? Wow! The best part? When she popped her head out of the water with a giant smile and a thumbs up because she was impressed with herself! She loves to swim and she’s definitely a fish.
Late this summer we discovered Opportunity Farm in Bradenton. My daughter had been begging for horseback riding lessons for months and I kept putting her off. I just kept envisioning her being thrown and trampled by a horse. Then I saw a post about this new horse farm and the mini riding program they offer for younger riders. It’s a short lesson on taking care of the horses followed by a ride. I took her for a lesson and it was amazing! We met the world’s most patient pony (and the world’s most patient trainer) and she fell in love. She would be at the barn every single day if she could be.
Every kid is different. Some kids love to be on the go every day. My kid is not one of them. I thought she was, she said she wanted to do everything, but that was definitely not the case. It has been a hard lesson for me to learn and it’s hard to stick to un-scheduling, but it’s worth it in the end. We’re down to one dance class a week, an occasional horseback riding lesson with the option of swim lessons and could not be happier!!