As our toddler is approaching the 2nd year of life (terrible twos?), we have been contemplating various school systems and activities. We have thought about educational day cares, Montessori schools, ballet, Karate, piano, French immersion, swimming, soccer and the list goes on.
Stepping back and looking at the big picture, I have to think about what is the purpose of all these extra curricular activities. I’d like to think that we doing what is best for our children. However, if you look a bit closer, are we simply training a super human kid? Are we, as parents, compensating for what we didn’t have as children? Perhaps we want our offspring to look better than the next kid?
In addition to the purpose of over stimulating our kids, these extra curricular activities are big business and can cost a lot of money. For example, I just found out that our area is about to get its first Montessori school which is a new age way for toddlers to learn. I’m all for optimal learning, but the “tuition” is heavy on the wallet. The cost is $595/month + tax for mornings OR afternoons 5 days a week. I guess one could argue that the cost is approximately the same as daycare (in NL), but at least daycare is for the whole day, not a partial day. To put it in another light, the cost of Montessori is more than what I paid for University tuition. Throw in some piano lessons, a sport, swimming and you’ll have a monthly bill approaching the cost of a mortgage. Oh, and get this, that’s just for one child.
I see some young children with schedules so busy that they practically need a personal assistant to keep track of it all. It makes me wonder how much the extra activities actually benefit the child. Of course as parents, we want the best for our kids, but at what cost? When is it too much? When I was young, I was involved in a few sports but most of my time was playing outside with my friends (or inside playing video games). I’d like to think that I turned out alright.
Perhaps the proper mindset is to get them involved with many activities as possible, and see which ones they enjoy most. Drop the ones that they don’t, and gently encourage the activities that they do.
Those of you with kids, do you put them in as many activities as possible? Where do you draw the line?