My son is about to turn three years old, and I have recently become aware of all the activities he could possibly become involved in. He is too young to tell me what he would like to do, so how do I decide? In addition to preschool, all his extra curricular activities are completely up to my husband and I. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I have been over-thinking it, and I want to do my best to make the right decisions for him. I’m not stressed out or worried about it, but at the same time, I think that our decisions for him do matter.
My first thought was to put him into one of those gymnastics classes for little kids. He likes to jump around and has a lot of energy to burn, so it seems like a good match. Those classes only meet once a week for less than an hour, so it’s not a huge time commitment. But, it is one more day out of the week that I have to leave the house with two kids, and if you have two kids, you know that isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
Then, I went skiing this past weekend and saw all the adorable little kids on skis. I learned to ski when I was three years old, and it is something that I still enjoy today. Plus, the fact that we live only about ten minutes from a ski resort is really something that we should take advantage of. Some people have to drive hours to go skiing, and Boston Mills is basically in our back yard. He could take lessons while I sit in the lodge with Mallory and sip hot chocolate. There is also the added benefit that when the kids get older, we will all be able to go on ski vacations.
Of course, there is soccer, which is so popular, we just assume he will play on a team. I’m pretty sure they start at three years old in our city, and with the season beginning in just a few months, I’m wondering if I’ve already missed the registration for it. I really need a Hudson parent with older kids to explain all this to me.
In addition to other sports, art classes, and music classes, I’m sure there are a bunch of opportunities I don’t even know exist.
What do most parents do? I would assume that they sign their kid up for either what they used to be involved in as children, or what their friends are signing their kids up for. Maybe some parents sign their kids up for what they want them to be good at. I’m sure in many cases, the child has shown a strong interest in the activity and the parent wants to reinforce it.
When I was growing up, I played just about every sport offered. I really loved sports and I’m not sure that my parents ever questioned my interests. Having said that, I didn’t start playing sports at three years old. I think I was closer to seven or eight, (but I could be wrong). Now, it seems like if you don’t get your kid into a sport at a young age, they will be left behind. If Logan doesn’t start playing soccer until he is eight, he’s going to be five years behind everyone else. I’m sure it’s harder to break into a sport later when all the parents and coaches already know each other and have formed somewhat of a clique. Starting at a young age also gives you the advantage that if you have the potential to be really good, you are able to practice and perfect it over a long period of time. People that are really good at piano or tennis, for example, have typically started very young with lessons. (Although I just read that Roger Federer started playing tennis when he was eight, which was older than I would have guessed).
I suppose the best thing to do is put him in any activity that we think he will like and be good at, even though I don’t think there’s a sport for throwing trains. I also suppose that he will show a strong like or dislike early on, so I will know whether we should continue with an activity or not. I’m sure in the end, my kids will fall into activities that they are happy with. I believe that as a parent, I have a responsibility to expose my children to all kinds of possibilities, not just those I am familiar with, or that I want my kids to like. I think that introducing them to their passion(s) early on is one of the most important things I can do for them.
As a parent, how have you decided what activities to put your kids into?