Are My Children UNDER-Scheduled?

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Categories Activities, Balance, Community, Lifestyle, Parenting, School-Age

My girls just turned six.  To cruise around my friends’ pictures on Facebook, those who have similar-age children (or younger), I have to question if my kiddos are missing out on something.

I see pictures from dance recitals, piano lessons, gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, and basketball.  And my mouth is watering these days at all the pictures of kiddos selling Girl Scout cookies.

Our girls have experienced very little of that.

They’ve taken swim lessons the past three summers.  The first summer they didn’t exactly love it, but they’ve had a great time the past two years.  And the summer when they were four, they took a two-month tumbling class and had a great time.

It’s certainly not that I’m opposed to them participating in activities, but, as I’ve stepped back to assess our history to date, I feel fiercely protective of their time, and of our time as a family.

The girls are now in kindergarten, and our Monday-Friday are jam-packed.  Their daddy is a teacher, so they come home with him after school.  After a snack and a little play time with the kitties, they’re often just finishing up “homework” when I come home around 5:30.  I rush to get supper on the table, and we are usually finishing our meal shortly after 6:00.  If we’re lucky, we have time for a game or a book or two before we begin our bedtime routine at 6:30.

(Yes, our girls are in bed by 7:00!  They seem to require 11 1/2 – 12 hours of sleep!)

On the weekends, I try to balance getting family errands done (groceries and laundry and cooking ahead) with hanging out with the girls.  If the weather is nice, we love to go to the park.  We try to head to the zoo or children’s museum every 6 weeks or so.  And I block off plenty of time for unstructured play at home, and crafting, and reading, and snuggles.

Newly working mom wonders whether her kindergartners are under-scheduled as she protects family time.

These days, I just don’t see where we’d put a practice or two a week and games/events on the weekends.

I think our girls’ schedules are plenty packed as they are, and I have strongly mixed feelings about introducing anything else into the mix.  Still, I can’t help but question if I’m providing them with appropriate access to trying different activities.

HELP!!!  Are my kiddos “missing out” at this age?  Does this get easier as kiddos get older (and don’t go to bed so early)?  How does your family prioritize activities?

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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MandyE is the mother of 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B. (And yes, their names actually start with the letters A and B!) She worked in the marketing field for nine years before her girls were born, but these days she’s relishing the opportunity to be a SAHM, which she plans to continue until the girls start kindergarten. MandyE has been blogging at Twin Trials and Triumphs since her girls were a year old. Between her blog and her local Mothers of Multiples group, she considers the multiples community a huge part of her support system.

10 thoughts on “Are My Children UNDER-Scheduled?”

  1. My boys are five and a half and our family has a similar schedule. I can’t figure out how I would even arrange for an activity. I hate to add a Saturday activity because they love to play all day in their pajamas. But I sometimes worry that they are missing out.

  2. I love that your priority’s is down time. We have three kids 7,5, and 3. They are all in swim lessons once a week so that they can independently learn to swim. We do a lot of water activities, lakes, oceans, vacations and think this is to important. My daughter is in ballet, through the YMCA. No competitions or anything. One class for 45 minutes once a week. She adores it. She is begging for piano lessons, but I am not going to over schedule. My boy’s who are the 5 and 3 year old do soccer, in the same class. Also through the YMCA. We got lucky and all were scheduled (ballet and soccer) at the same time. It gets a bit much sometimes, but so far we have been able to keep weekends free of stuff. I am a SAHM, so I do a lot of maintenance things like laundry, grocery shopping during the day with my two who are still at home. I think we are jam packed enough and have no plans to make any more plans. Also my kids would not be in two activities each if the schedules did not allow all of them to be done at the same time. So only two evenings out of the week are packed with kids stuff. Their childhood and carefree days are more important to me then anything.

    1. Sounds like you have a great set-up through the YMCA! And seeing your comment makes me think about dance, which I LOVED as a child. That might be something to consider, as we wouldn’t have practices AND games in the same week to juggle.

      Thank you! :) :)

  3. The way I see it, after-school care fulfills much of the socialization and enrichment purposes that other extracurricular activities would fill. We’re certainly been very, very scheduled in the past – soccer, dance lessons, and Girl Scouts, plus church activities. This year, we’re sticking to Girl Scouts alone, and I think that’s okay. Having fewer recurring activities leaves us more time for playdates and festivals. Also, my girls have been enjoying our home more, especially since the addition of a trampoline.

  4. Mandy, so great to find you! Our girls are still very underscheduled and I am certain it’s been the best for them. At 10, school takes up so much of their time, and weekends are now full of homework. They do a few school activities, which keep them there for an extra hour, but the weekends are all ours and I am not ready to give that up. As for bedtimes, don’t get too dreamy, M&K are in bed by 8, which leaves them only about four hours every day of wiggle time. That is not enough and in my world, family time trumps busy time. Keep enjoying being together!

    1. Thanks so much, Ally! And don’t get me wrong…I am THANKFUL our girls go to bed so early! They *need* that sleep!!! (And having that time at night to myself, after they’re in bed, helps me recharge, too.)

      There are some after-school activities that I could foresee, but those are for slightly older kids. That does sound like a good option at some point. (Academic club, running club, the like.)

      I appreciate your note!

  5. I have been wondering the same thing! My little guy is only two, but if you look at all the social media and blogs, I wonder if we don’t do enough throughout the week. As for signing up to classes (when he is older), I was planning on leaving it up to him and let him choose what and how much he wants to do.

  6. It’s hard not to look around — even if you don’t mean to! — and see so many other kiddos doing so many things, at least judging by Facebook. 😉

    I remember when my girls were two. They could play all day, for sure! I am thankful they had that uninterrupted time. We had play dates (with my mom friends) from time to time, and I felt like that was a great opportunity for the girls to get out and interact in an easy environment.

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