The Parent Trip- How many activities are too much?

  • Feb. 3, 2014 6:00 p.m.

By Shelby Cain


The kids are back in school, and back into their routines.  For a lot of kids, and parents, this means activities.  Hockey, skiing, swimming, dance, gymnastics, hockey.  I know I put hockey twice, but due to the sheer effort it takes to have your kids in hockey, I thought it deserved a double shout-out.

Deciding which, if any, activities to have your kids in can be very challenging.  I have to say that on the activity scale, we rate on the low-end.  I’m one of those people that finds out someone’s kid is in something, feels guilty that my kids are being deprived, and attempts a last minute sign-up.

I think I’m this way for a few reasons.  I have been over-scheduled, and witnessed the parents of over-scheduled kids.  When I was a kid, my brothers and I were busy.  They were both in hockey, and I did all the girl stuff.  Figure skating, gymnastics, school sports.  Back then there were no girls in hockey.  My parents are thanking their lucky stars, two hockey players was more than enough.

But I clearly remember coming home from early morning figure skating, which I absolutely hated, and thinking that taking my skates out of the bag and drying the blades off might actually kill me.  I couldn’t do it.  I may have laid on the floor and had a complete melt down. My hopes of ever doing a triple sow-cow were dashed, and my parents cut the activities back to include a bit more hanging-out time.

As a parent, I have several friends that are at the other end of the activity scale.  The sky-high end. They spend a good part of the evening and every weekend running people to the rink, the hill, the studio, etc.  They are consumed by the schedule.  Their kids need personal secretaries to keep the activities, uniforms, gear-drying and snacks in order.

Depending on your kid, some not only need to be kept busy, but actually thrive on it.  Some don’t.  Only you, as their parent, can figure it out.

I signed my girls up for dance this year.  Yes, I heard about it through my friend because her kid was in it and signed mine up the day it started.  Guilt.  But they love it.  I wedged them in Tu-tu’s and sent them in, then walked around downtown, hoping someone would ask where my kids were, and I could say, in dance class.  Yes.

They came out rosy cheeked and bouncing off the walls, Three shaking her chubby little bum to show me her new moves.  Priceless.  So good luck with your activities, and I guess the bottom line is, make sure everyone’s having fun.  Including you.