On The Particulars Of Choosing Extracurriculars

When I was a little girl, my after school activities kept me busy most days of the week. From German school, to Brownies and Girl Guides, to choir, to gymnastics, horseback riding, piano lessons… the list goes on. I loved absolutely every activity, but as an adult, I have few ties to any of them.

By now, I could be fluent in German… but I’m not. I could be an accomplished pianist… but I’m not at all. And that’s what gets me stumped when it comes to choosing extracurriculars for my own daughter.

gretchen frisbee

At age four, my Gretchen is set to start school in the Fall. This is also the age where a lot of our local sports and other activities get started for little ones. Soccer, hockey, dance, etc… all seem to start around age 4 and so I’m starting to feel as though it’s time to select something for her. But how can I do this? Choosing one over another seems tricky and as though she may miss out on opportunities, or the ability to find something she really loves… but on the other hand, if I choose to sign her up for a multitude of lessons, will she be overwhelmed?

As a mother, I want her to have every chance to find activities which she’ll love and excel at. We’ve had a few discussions about making this choice lately, but I feel as though I’m only rhyming off things I think she might enjoy — and her answer to ALL of them is, “Yes!”

Gretchen, what would you think about dance lessons?

Oh yes, mama! I will wear a big, beautiful dress, and I will twirl!

Sometimes things will come up on TV, or in chatting with friends at daycare, and my first desire is to say YES! along with her when she shows an interest in dancing and singing and playing the piano and skating… but the reality of the matter is that time and money are a factor when it comes to making this choice. I want to make the right choices, and have her be a part of them!

How did you make the choice to enroll your children in different sports, lessons, and activities? Did they come to you with ideas, or did you make decisions for them that you believed they’d truly enjoy? And do you believe it’s better to try one activity at a time to see what sticks… or is it better to try several at a time and keep the ones for which your child develops a fondness?

I’d love to hear how the idea of extracurriculars are handled in your family — and how they relate to your own experiences as a child. My young years were fantastically busy and I know it must have been stressful for my mother to organize it all, but I’m so grateful that she immersed me in possibility.

Tell us what you think, mamas!

PS. Also feel free to comment with the activities your children LOVE to take part in… and the ones that didn’t go over quite as well as hoped! Happy weekend.