I tend not to follow trends or what other people are doing just because they’re doing it. Really sometimes that’s my only reason for not doing something. Just because everyone else is. Being stubborn is like a full-time job.
In this particular case I’m talking about my kids’ activities. Their school activities can get sort of crazy, but manageable. An hour before school (at school), 10-ish concerts a year, but that’s about it. Also God blessed us with non-athletic children, this helps.
In the summertime, however, we shut down. We go swimming, play in the sprinkler, go to church camp, walk to the ice cream shop, and hang out with friends. My kids really don’t function well with busyness and hurrying, and quite frankly it stresses me out. So if no one is happy…why would we do it?
What if, at their ages, the best thing they can do with their time is play outside? Get into arguments with their friends and learn to resolve them? Make new friends with someone who just moved on to our street? Invent a new game? Play a neighborhood game of front yard baseball?
What if our schedule was free so I could say “yes” more? Yes, let’s drive around and look at Christmas lights. Yes, let’s go get donuts on this lovely Saturday morning. Yes, go see if your neighbor friend can play.
This is what we do. I’m not forcing it on anyone or saying it’s the best. Perhaps your child has found a sport/activity/instrument that they LOVE and can’t get enough of! Great – encourage, support, sign up. But maybe let’s consider the value in free time, for us AND for them, to just be. To play. To pretend. To imagine. So we can say “yes”.