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!