We know it’s ridiculous but we still do it. I’m talking about all those after-school (not to mention weekend) activities we cram into our children’s lives.
Football, dance, swimming, tennis, drama, martial arts, rugby, music, cricket, gymnastics… the list goes on.
Why do we do it? Is it because we’re secretly convinced our child is a prodigy? And that all we have to do is find out in which field? Quite possibly.
So we throw activities at them and see what sticks. In most cases, of course, little does.
By the time our child reaches secondary school age, reality has dawned. If they were going to be the next David Beckham or Darcey Bussell, they’d have been snapped up by now. With a mixture of regret and, let’s be honest, relief, we ease up on those activities. At last, life calms down.
Want to know what I think? I think we should back off earlier.
I’d say primary school children need at least two (ideally more) activity-free evenings during the week and at least one activity-free day at the weekend.
If they enjoy an activity, let them do it. If they don’t, call it a day. Yes, I know we don’t want to breed a generation of quitters. So see it through to the end of term. Then call it a day.
Everyone needs time to potter around at home and put their feet up. And that includes children.