Soccer Mom in Training

7 Feb

Baby Beez is only 2 but already I’m struggling to figure out how many and which activities to involve her in.  I’m trying to balance between:

1. Giving her the opportunity to participate in things she enjoys.

2. Not overburdening my (or her) schedule.

3. Not missing the boat on her having the opportunity to develop talent in something she discovers to love and have talent for.

4.  Exposing her to certain activities and skills Mr. Beez and I think are important.

Again, she’s only 2. But the parenting trend seems to veer toward going on activities overload earlier and earlier.

We had her in swim lessons when she was an infant.  The purpose of this was primarily safety.  Although it’s obvious that children must always be watched around water, I also want her to be a strong swimmer.  We took some swim lessons, but they were boring (the teacher wasn’t very involved, it was parents just swimming with their kids and a teacher watched), so we quit for the time being. I need to either re-enroll her in swim lessons, or make a point to take her to the pool regularly once the weather is warm.

She’s now in gymnastics, which for a 2 year old really means “running around and jumping on things.”  It’s hardly structured, and she gets stubborn and difficult when I suggest she try something new, but she has a lot of fun burning off that energy.  I’m honestly not too big on chasing her around the room, so I’ll be glad when she graduates from “mommy and me” to just “me” classes.

Then there are things like dance.  I’m kind of anti-dance because I was and am terrible at dancing.  Now she loves to run around the house and twirl and say “I’m a ba-yeenah!” (ballerina).  So foolish overbearing mother me went online and found out that they start pre-ballet as early as 2.  Maybe dance classes would be something she’d enjoy?

Her gymnastics class is also right next to the Three Rivers Fencing Center, and she loves watching the fencing.  As we walk by the big window and watch the kids inside, she exclaims “Fencing! My turn!”  Clearly we’ve got several years before fencing is any kind of option, but it makes me wonder whether I should let her try any activity that catches her fancy, or whether I should restrict her to one or two activities at a time.

Personally, I don’t care what activity she is involved in.  I’m not living any unfulfilled dreams through her.  I just want her to have the opportunity to discover her talents, be happy, and both start an activity early enough and stay with it long enough that she can develop those talents.  I only have the time, energy and resources to let her try out so many things.  Should I promote music or dance or art or technology or sports? Should I let her quit an activity once she’s tired of it? Or should I insist she stick with it and develop skill? How do we figure out even what she’ll be good at and what she will like?

One Response to “Soccer Mom in Training”

  1. Doctor G February 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    These are all great questions. You’ll ask and answer and re-ask a few times in the coming years. Just keep one eye on your daughter: what excites and motivated her? And one eye on the woman you want to raise: what skills do you want her to build for her life to thrive? Very few of us are going to raise am Olympic athlete or Carnegie Hall performer. The point of activities is to build experience and character!

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