Do you have a child that is ready to join every activity, sports team and organization at school and in the community? While you might cave into their pleas by convincing yourself that these are all learning opportunities, think twice about signing your child up for every activity of their wish list. Two of the most underrated areas where children can learn and grow are through unstructured time where they use their imagination and learn to play alone and when they spend time with their family members at the dinner table and simple everyday outings. Family food shopping, dinner with family friends, visits to relatives and back to school shopping are all learning and bonding experiences for your child. Consider these to be opportunities for growth. Take advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and take your child to the Childrens Place for back to school shopping. Let them make basic decisions on selection, budgeting and adding up prices. They’ll begin to take ownership of the process and be more engaged.
The temptation to join organized activities stems from pressure from other children, wanting to be part of a group. There is also real pressure from other parents as they compare notes on the activities, clubs and sports they’ve arranged for their own children. Have your child select one activity at a time. Organized sports have terrific value on many levels. Team work, commitment and learning how to win and lose are life lessons for young children. More often than not, the quality of organized sports hangs on the attitude of the coach. The point of group sports at a young age is not to develop world class athletes, but to develop world class citizens.
The upside of exposure to a myriad of activities for young children is to help them find a passion, uncover hidden talents and develop social skills. While this can also be achieved within the nucleus of the family, stepping out of a zone of comfort challenges young children to speak for themselves, help others and grow as individuals. Whichever activities you and your child select, keep the number to a minimum. Over programing can be just as harmful to development as shielding your child from growth opportunities. Best of luck to you and your family as you find that balance between organized activities, personal time and family time.