My daughter, if left to her own devices, would eat candy all day, play with Barbies and watch mindless television.
Seriously, I get that. She’s a lot like me, and if I don’t have structure in my life I tend to spend the majority of my day playing World of Warcraft and Twittering about it.
This means I need her to have a thing. It doesn’t have to be anything fantastic, and I am not expecting her to be an Olympic Gold Medalist or anything, I just want something to keep her away from the Twizzlers.*
We’ve tried several different after school activities– and she’s had fun at most of them, the only problem is–when they get too competitive, she runs. The thing is, she’s five. I don’t really blame her for not wanting to go straight from school to practice five days a week. But that’s what always happens. I think there is a time and a place for daily practices to get good at stuff, I’m just not sure kindergarten is that time.
I get that we should challenge our kids, make them try hard and teach them the importance of hard work, but what about just wanting to play sometimes? Isn’t unstructured play the place where their imaginations take hold? If we always give them a task, won’t they be worker bees for the rest of their lives?
Why are all these programs designed to get kids so involved at such a young age? Does it help foster development? I want to read the research that says this sort of thing is good for my child– but i can’t seem to find it anywhere.
What do you do? Is your elementary school-aged child serious about one thing? If they get too involved, do they quit? What’s the right thing here? And, can’t we ever just take the day and go to the lake?