I recently got into a conversation with one of the Moms from my “Mommy circle”. By the end of our interaction, a part of head and mind was reeling, literally under an onslaught of questions that seem to stem from that conversation.
What she said to me was, “I want my child to excel in one sport activity, one dance form and one music instrument.” Seriously! Are you kidding me ? She had enrolled her 3-year old for football, art classes and is desperately looking out for a music teacher. A 3-year old. I could picture her holding her son tight and running this unnamed race with an awfully competitive expression on her face ? All I could think at the end was, what if the little one just wanted to lie down in a corner of the house, looking and feeling plain bored ? Didn’t he have a right to that ?
Can’t we give our children a little time to get bored and see how creative and resourceful they become, even with twigs and stones. Can’t we give them the space to think? Why do we, as parents, jump at every new fancy child programs we hear of ? Why do we enroll them in classes? May be to keep them busy, maybe they really do enjoy it – but the fundamental question we need to ask ourselves is whether we are overdoing it?
Here are a couple more that we could munch on, as parents, if you ask me.
What does my child really want ? How much time can he spend doing any kind of a structured activity? How much is more and how much is enough ?
The key, I feel, is to strike a balance without letting them feel the pressure to excel. We must realize that in the course of keeping our children busy with activities, they would be constantly trying to listen to instructions, compete (maybe unconsciously) and do their best to keep us happy. Isn’t it overwhelming?
We must resist the temptation to let our children specialize in an area too early. For example I would personally choose programs that encourage pre -sport skills with lots of props and fun over a structured football program for my 4-year old.
Dear Mommies, please don’t feel guilty or worried of depriving your children of all the possible things they can do. Sometimes doing little or nothing helps. They have plenty of time to do what they really want. While you choose to run the mommy race always remember to look at your child and not the finishing line!
Really well said. I totally agree with you.Kids have full rights to feel bored and not do anything and relax when they want.We definitely should and can balance between number of activites …
‘Relax and unwind’ is not only for adults. I second you on that.
I feel enrolling a child for any kind of activity at the age of 3 to 5 years is too early.we should leave the child to learn & to explore by his/her own.as mothers we shouldn’t do things that will satisfy us but burden the child.there is a certain age to enroll chidren in certain activities .so I totally agree with the above.
Yes Priya,we should let children grow at their own pace by striking a balance between structured activities and free play.
A well written blog. I totally agree with you. Now my kids are grown up— my daughter is doing her engineering and son is in 10th. I remember when they were young, they always spent their holidays playing in the garden, watching birds and bees, building castles on sand etc. I never enrolled them in any of the camps. Now they are capable of following their passion and are happy with their hobbies , My daughter is into baking and son is into music—-all self learnt. Allow kids to bloom on their own.
truly agree with you. By letting children ‘BE’ we give them good childhood memories too.
Very interesting . Sad but true that all parents want their kids to be busy in some or the other activities . Luckily my parents never did that to me, I got enough time for myself. I remember my friends struggling for coaching classes and many other classes , when I was idling a lot. I feel that was the best decision by my parents, I may not be an engineer , but now am a happy person , a happy mom , and am doing my best to be with my kids ,and do as my parents did , instead of instilling competition in my kids mind.