Wednesday 18 October 2017

After school clubs and downtime

As a young teenager I was very busy. Most days I would have some kind of club or activity at lunch time, after school, and then often in the evening too. I'm very glad that I had so many opportunities for activities that broadened my horizons and introduced me to new opportunities. In particular at school I was involved in musical activities - instrument lessons, orchestra, choir and so on, and I have fond memories of the shows that I performed in and the trips that I went on.

However I did always feel that my days were very full, and I remember the feeling of relief if an activity was cancelled, and the joy of some unexpected free time. My children are still young, and since they were babies I've always been reluctant to sign them up for too many clubs and classes as I know that they need time to themselves as well.

So at the moment sometimes I feel that they are woefully under scheduled compared to their playmates. They both have a swimming lesson after school once a week, and Harry has a weekly after school piano lesson. This year Harry has joined the school choir and Mia has begun a Speech and Drama club, luckily both of these clubs take place at lunchtimes and need little involvement from me.

This term Harry has also signed up for a Creative Writing club after school. I'm really glad that he's interested, and he certainly has a talent for writing, but it does mean a long day for him. Mia started an after school sports club last term and we had to stop because she was just too tired, she would come home in tears.

I really treasure the two afternoons a week when we have no activities after school and can just come home, get the children changed (often straight into their pyjamas!) and they can play together for a little while before dinner. It's one of the reasons that I'm terrible at organising playdates - I'm very protective of our free, unscheduled time after school.

Child with a piano exam certificate

As they get older they will have even more opportunities offered to them, and along with peer pressure I'm sure they are going to want to do more and more. I want to encourage them of course but I'll just try and be mindful that they aren't ending up too busy and still have plenty of time to relax!

How do you balance offering your child enriching activities, and letting them have time to just chill out at home?

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