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How do you choose extracurricular activities for your kids?

by LeahK  |  362 views  |  0 comments  |      Rate this now! 

I've been able to avoid it for more than four years, but I think it's finally caught up to me: It's time to get my kid involved in some kind of extracurricular activity.While all the other parents I know have been registering their kids for swimming lessons and soccer camp and baby ballet while they were still practically infants, I spared myself the stress of adding extra entries to the family calendar and just kept putting it off and putting it off.

I had a good excuse for a while, at least. Up until last fall, my son was at a daycare that ran a regular rotation of cooking, music, art, and judo (not to mention language immersion), so I never felt the need to spend extra time and money sending him to more activities on top of that--especially since he was a toddler and not exactly trying to flesh out his college resume with a range of diverse experiences.

What's changed is that now he's four years old and at a play-based preschool where there's not much of a set curriculum at all. It finally feels like the right time to start looking at camps and classes that will give him that extra focus and structure in an activity that he will hopefully love. But MAN, there are a lot of choices.

My brother and I tried all kinds of things when we were kids--baseball, soccer, singing, several styles of dance, a zoo camp--and the only things that were consistent and non-negotiable were swimming lessons every summer and piano lessons until age 12, when my parents allowed us to pick another instrument if we wanted to. (My baby bro chose ACCORDION.) My husband was also into a wide range of exracurriculars as a kid, and I think both of us would be thrilled if our boys latched onto an activity that one or the other of us already holds dear.

But how do we choose between swimming and soccer and dance and circus arts and theater and karate and music and science camp? How did you choose? And how do you narrow it down if you want your kids to do everything?

Are your kids involved in activities you picked because you were familiar with them--that is, things you did as a kid? Or are your kids doing things you wish you'd done? (I always wanted to be an actor...) Maybe you just signed them up for whatever the neighbors' kids were doing (which in our case would be soccer and/or yoga and/or capoeira, the art of dance fighting). If you let your kids decide what activities they wanted to do, how old were they and what did they choose?





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