Wednesday, 1 February 2012
How many after school activities are too many?
These are just some of the activities that mums ferry their children to on a weekly basis. In the case of some of them, like dancing, it can actually mean three or four trips, as the basic repertoire of dance morphs into Tap, Ballet, Street and Acro (-batics), all on different days.
And it's expensive. £40 for a batch of 10 Swimming lessons at the local leisure centre. Similar amount for Gymnastics. You are talking roughly £4 per class minimum.
2 children with 3 activities a week. That's £24 per week. And that's before the paraphernalia that comes with it. For dancing it's £50 if your darling is going to perform one dance in the annual show; £100 if she's in two dances. It covers the costume costs; which is funny because I distinctly remember the 80s when mums found a needle and thread themselves and rustled up the costumes for a few pounds. And not only do you pay for the classes, and now the costume; you also pay for the privilege of coming to the show, 3 nights on the trot, not just to see darling perform, but to conduct your role of stagehand, getting them dressed and ready at the right time for the right dance piece.
Whatever the activity, be it football (boots, the latest kit (the 'right' kit), transport to tournaments and trips to watch the professionals), horse riding (riding boots, protective helmets and body armour, and... if you are not careful... an actual pony!?) or whatever takes your fancy; it's an incredibly expensive exercise to give our children the opportunity of discovering where their talents lie. And I wonder where the limit is?
3 nights a week of activities after school? 4 nights? When they are only 6 years old? Are our children going to burn out before they hit secondary school?
What do you think? How many activities are too many? And at what age?