Tag: after-school-activities

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:

Gymnastics

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.

Starmakers

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?

My Little Gymnast

Starting school:

Little T just turned 4 when she started school.  I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle with her, although she was definitely ready for it, we knew that the first couple of weeks would be a bit difficult. But she survived, or more like, we all survived!  In less than two weeks, she was totally fine.  We still do get our odd days of course, but hey, even as grown-ups we have those days too right?  But she’s doing really great now and absolutely loves school and her teacher and friends.  What a relief!

After-school activities: 

And then there’s the after-school activities, which I wasn’t so keen at first, because at this age, isn’t school enough?  And she’s always had her swimming lessons every Wednesday even before she started school.  I thought that was enough.  When she’s a bit older, then she can have whatever after school activities she wants like music lessons or sports.

The thing with T is that she’s always been interested in gymnastics.  I guess in a way all little children are, you know they all like bouncy castles, jumping and hanging upside down like little monkeys at the playground.  So when most of her school mates started going to after school activities, I thought why not look for a gymnastics class for her, because she’s really into it?  I didn’t want to send T to an after-school activity she wasn’t interested in, just because everyone else was doing it.  It had to be something she really liked.

Thankfully, we did find one for her age-group, although it is about a 30-45 minute drive from where we live.  It’s so much worth it!

She loved the first class.  I was half expecting her to hesitate when she first tried out, but she didn’t.  She just went along with the other girls, all older and taller than her.  As usual, she’s the youngest and smallest in the whole gymnastics club!  And it’s also a proper one, you know the kind that’s a member of the British gymnastics association, that sort.  A “proper job” as the Cornish would say 🙂

After the first lesson, we wanted to buy her the club’s leopard right away.  But they told us to wait for at least two weeks before buying it, just to make sure that she won’t change her mind.  When we found out how much it cost, we agreed.  Let’s just say it wasn’t cheap.

Now it’s been more than two weeks since her first try and here she is, still loving it:

She loves what she calls her gymnastics-outfit!  When we first bought it, she refused to take it off and actually wanted to sleep in it.  Later on, she agreed to just sleep WITH it, tucked in her bed with her.  Not only that, she brought it on holiday with us.  It was a bit of a struggle to convince her not to wear it during our holiday.

And as you know, with little T, she always has to have a funny-face whenever the camera is pointed at her.

This is definitely one of our proudest moments.  Since starting school and gym class, our little girl has been more confident as ever.  Still a little bit shy at first, but once she’s comfortable enough, she’ll even go up to you and introduce herself.  What’s not there to be proud of?  I’m sure all parents are the same 😉

Does your child go to an after-school activity?
Do they love it too?