After School Activities: Too much, too soon?

I’ve mentioned in a past post that Little T is doing two after-school activities since she began going to school in September.  Three, if you count swimming, which she actually stopped going to, but will start again when school resumes after the summer.  At the moment she’s doing:


which she absolutely enjoys and is doing really well.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago, one of the senior coaches approached us and said that they’ve actually singled her out from her group and thinks she has potential.  They actually mentioned that they would like to train her for competitions, but that would mean another extra hour of training and would like to do this after the summer.  It was certainly a proud moment for me and my husband.  We were really pleased, especially since she enjoys going to gymnastics so much.

Little T was also happy when we told her.  She also said “That means I get to wear a different kind of leotard!”  You see, girls who do competitions wear a different kind from the other girls.  We explained though that this will mean an extra-hour, not to mention hard-work.  At the moment though, I don’t think she understands that it is “hard-work”.  To her, gymnastics is all about fun, being with her friends, doing jumps, balancing and other gymnastic moves.

Too young?  Too soon?

Later though, I turned to my husband and said “But she’s only four for goodness sake!”  He reminded me, by then she’ll be older.  “Yes, but isn’t five also too young?”   She goes to gymnastics on Fridays after class, from 4-5.  If she starts training, that will be from 4-6.  Won’t she be exhausted?  Then again, badge sessions are almost 3 hours and she seems all hyper and not tired after each session.

While I’m really proud that they think she has potential, I’m worried that the training will be too much and just want her to have fun at gymnastics.  Of course I won’t hold her back.  If she’s really into it, we will support her all the way.  Even if it means camping out in the waiting room with the other parents who actually bring their work with them, laptops and all.  Once I saw a woman bring her portable sewing machine!  Now I know why.


Almost all the kids in little T’s school all go to Starmakers.  It’s a drama/singing/dancing type of class which little T also loves.  At first, she refused to go.  But then she noticed all her friends were going.  She tried it out and really enjoys every minute of it.  Again, I guess it’s because to her, it’s all play.  She gets to sing and dance with the rest of her friends from school.  And not only that, it’s held at the village hall which is not far from their school and their home.  At least we don’t drive to get her to that, we just walk her which is always good isn’t it?  Starkers happens every Monday after school.

Here she is with her friends and their version of the Lion King.

Cello Lessons?!

Little T’s village school offers violin or cello lessons to students who are interested in it.  Now that she’s turning five, she can actually join them if she wants to, which of course, she does!  I’m happy about cello lessons, especially since it’s just at their school, no driving to be done.  But with gymnastics (plus training), swimming (which she will start again by September), Starmakers, and then now cello lessons?  Surely that’s too much for a five-year old?  Something has to give right?  If I had my way, I’d want her to give up Starmakers, but she loves it though.  I can’t stop her from going, especially since she really enjoys it.  Should I?

I was chatting with another mum, her twin daughters who are close to little T and also goes to gymnastics mentioned that her twins also want to go to ballet and street dancing class.  They also go to the same Starmakers as T.  She didn’t seem to think that it was all too much.  Maybe it’s just me then?  Maybe I’m the only one who is finding this too much, too soon?  And I actually forgot to mention that little T also wants to go to trampolining class in her gym club!  But I think I’m going to put my foot down on that one, especially since that’s on a different day.

The question is, why do we need to cram so much activities after school?  How important is it?  With little T, all these are her choices.  We didn’t prompt her for it.  What’s wrong with spending time at home after school instead?  Admittedly, I don’t always have the time to sit with her, especially when there’s dinner to be made, and chores to do.  I do make it a point though to have a little chat and for some cuddles on the couch before I get up and do my chores.  During the weekends, she’s happy to potter around, do some painting (which she loves) and play on her own.  Sometimes, she has friends over, most times it’s just her, me and her dad.  Surely that’s enough?

What do you think?

Is it too much, too early to have so many after school activities for a four (turning five) year old?


  1. TheChroniclesofaNonBellyMama

    I think as adults, with all the confines of daily life ( work taking up most of our day, then chores, then groceries, then family time, then “me” time) it always feels like we are spread toooooo thin, or that there just isn’t enough time in the day, but with little ones, they don’t really get the concept of “time”. To them, as long as it’s fun, they are active, and laughing, then they want to do it all! As long as you have the extra $$ to involve her in all of those activities and she LOVES them, heck! Let her enjoy it. When it’s too much, she’ll let you know. Better now that she has the time and the energy, than let’s say, 16 with tons of homework, maybe an afterschool job and a social life. I think it’s awesome that you are letting her explore her likes and dislikes…

  2. thereadingresidence

    Oh, this is hard, isn’t it? Some of Boo’s friends have activities most nights and then at the weekends. Boo just has swimming on a Saturday morning, as I like to have her here each week night, and I love giving her and her brother time to be together. She’ll start drama lessons from Sept which she’s excited about it, but fortunately, they’re offered by her school within school hours, so no extra time out. I know she’ll do more and more over time, but for now, that will do for us! I’d say if Little T’s happy and not too tired, then go with it 🙂 x

  3. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?

    I think you are over thinking it. As long as little T is happy, and you can get her to and fro, I think it’s a great idea. It gives you a bit more free time (if you don’t have to attend all of the activities) and while there is nothing wrong with time at home, there isn’t really wrong with time outside the house, either! 🙂

  4. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?

    Me too! That’s why I can call you out on it! 🙂 hehehehehe

  5. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk)

    We use to have tennis after school on Tuesdays but Sebastian gets too tired to sleep so I stopped. We would bike on some night with his Dad and thats all the activity that he is doing. This summer I am planning on making him start music.

    This is really a lot but if shes got the energy for this I say go for it. The longer gymnastic lessons? I think you can go and try. If its too much and zapping her energy then you can always go back to just normal lessons.

    I wish I can send my son to more lessons but theres not much in here.

    But the music lesson is definitely a go for us.


  6. Jenny @ Let's Talk Mommy

    I don’t think so and while B doesn’t start school until September I still remember my own childhood and my siblings and we all had SOO many different after school activities too and loved them. Kids can do anything I swear. They will let you know if it’s too much. B will be in spanish lessons, swimming, and soccer. It’s about balance spreading it out throughout the week too. Not back to back. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • I know. As you can probably guess, I have a tendency to over-think things 😉 It’s just that T is barely 5! I had loads of after school activities too, but as far as I can recall, they all started when I was 7! Unless my mum contradicts me on this one 😉

  7. suzanne3childrenandit

    My advice would be – be careful. If you have a little girl who is good at a lot of things (like we do) then before you know it, they are doing everything going! I think sometimes it is too much, especially for one so young. They also get very tired!

    • That’s what I thought so too, she is JUST turning five end of August. But we’ll see how it goes. x

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