Thursday, May 7, 2015

5/7/15 When a Kid's Activity Just Isn't Right For Them

As a parent I wanted my kids to try out all types of activities when they were young.  Both of my kids did Gymboree classes as soon as they could crawl, and then progressed on to other activities.  Evan did swim, soccer, baseball, basketball, hip hop dance, and ice skating.  Lauren did swim, soccer, dance, baton, and gymnastics.  I did this in the hopes to find what they liked most and stick with it.  What I didn't realize is that some decisions to stop activities would be so difficult.  It cause quite a bit of "Mommy Guilt" and second thoughts.  I bumped in to a friend at the grocery store this past week who just went through the same thing so I thought a post might be helpful for parents.
At the age of two Lauren started Gymnastics in a Mommy and Me class.  She loved it.  She loved flipping over the bar, doing front rolls and trying the beam and jumping in the foam pit.
You could see the huge smile on her face as she practiced.  At home all she would do is try and do flips.  At three years old they decided to put her on a "Pre-Team" called Squirts.  It was the same amount of time as her normal class so I said sure.
As time went on there were more hours of practice and more days.  She was up to 3 hours a day on two days a week.  We had our moments as Coaches changed.  She liked some Coaches and others pushed really hard and she didn't like it.  Lauren does like a challenge but she also wants to make sure she does things right.  We went through phases of not wanting to go to class, or coming out crying.  But this again was the same little girl that used any bar in the house, including the towel bar in the bathroom which she broke to hang and swing on.
I watched her progress and do amazing things that I could never do.  I also knew that Gymnastics would help her with baton twirling and dance so we pressed on.
Then it came to the point where there was more complaining than smiling.  I struggled with what to do.  She showed promise but I also didn't want her not being happy.  We decided to take a break.  I made her finish out her time until her exhibition meet and then said we could take a month off and see how it went.
She never looked back after that month off.  In fact she never asked about gymnastics.  It took me a year to realize it was a good decision.  I spent so much time worrying would she be the next Mary Lou Retton?  If she was, she will go back eventually but it will be when she asks to.
Some things to think about when deciding if an activity/sport is not for your child?
I am a firm believer that if it is a team sport, they must finish out the season.
If there is a session, they must finish out the session.
If there are more tears than smiles it is not the right fit for your child.
Think about why you had them do it in the first place.  Is it something you loved and you are trying to live through them or did they request to try it?
Are they just too young and taking some time off may benefit them?
Are they just over-scheduled and you need to prioritize their activities to determine what is best for them.
and most of all...Don't over think it, most likely your child will not miss out on being the next Tom Brady, if they were meant to do it and love it they will do it!

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