Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Choosing Children's Activities

MVParents just posted a thought-provoking article titled "Demanding Activities: When Are They Too Much?" Here are some excerpts of the article...

Whether your child is involved in sports, music, the arts, or another activity, there often comes a time when she finds herself involved in an activity that demands a great deal of time and money. In our “go-go-go” society, there are a growing number of activities that now require kids to give almost all of their free time to participate. How do you know when this is the right thing to do?

Consider these ideas:

Talk with your child about what’s important and what he wants to do. Some kids want to do ballet, debate, volunteering, or a musical group that requires intensive training and activity. Other kids don’t. Discuss these issues together.

As a family, talk about your values regarding success. Kids do better academically and socially, and behave in ways we value, when they have multiple interests instead of just one.

Talk about the value of pursuing a number of interests that your child gets excited about. For more information, visit

If you want your child to be good at something, that pursuit will be demanding in terms of time. That’s true for all people. In order to master a skill, it takes time and practice.

Consider the pros and cons of kids doing demanding activities. Yale University child psychiatrist Dr. Kyle Pruett was interviewed on this subject through the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network. You can listen to the audio episode on their Web site.

Know what you’re willing to invest financially in an activity. Talk to your child about this. It can be painful when she begins to enjoy and excel at an activity and you find that you’re required to shell out hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars. Ask about the financial aspects of an activity; not only for this season or this year, but in the coming years as well.

Click here to read the rest of the article, which outlines tips for specific age groups.