In our house, we have a one activity rule. We have two daughters, five and two years old, and with our five year old starting to express interest in various activities, we had to decide what our guidelines were going to be.
One of the things I valued growing up was family meal time and just time together in general on the evenings and weekends. When thinking of my own family, I did not want to be involved in so many activities that it took us away from each other every night of the week. The other factor is finances. Sports, classes, camps, lessons, etc. all cost money and can add up quite quickly. We are fortunate that we are able to provide some extracurricular experiences for our children but we simply can’t do everything.
We have initially decided on a one activity rule. Last year my daughter asked to try gymnastics. I found a reasonably priced eight-week class and we gave it a try. She enjoyed it and learned a lot as well. Towards the end of our eight-week session, she started asking about taking a dance class. We were approaching summer at this point so at the end of our gymnastics session we decided to try a summer dance camp. This gave her a little taste of what a class would be like without a big commitment.
When the fall rolled around we gave her the choice between gymnastics and dance and she chose dance. Her class was one night a week for an hour which was the perfect amount of commitment for us. At the end of the first semester, we gave her another choice, stick with dance, go back to gymnastics, or try something new. She chose dance and we are now approaching the end of our first full year of dance class and her first recital. I am all about my kids experiencing different things and trying out lots of different activities until they find their “thing,” but it has been good for our family to commit to only one thing at a time while they are still young.
I know this is going to get increasingly challenging as my children get older and we will undoubtedly have to revise our rule. We have already bent our rule as the last few weeks of dance have overlapped with our first season of spring soccer.
I would love to hear some wisdom from you on how you keep it all in check and maintain a balance in your family.