You’ve heard and seen the kids who take part in all sorts of clubs/sports/activities because “that’s what their parents did when they were their age!” Or because their parents never got the chance to as a child, so they want their kids to do it instead. I was fortunate enough that I was exposed to a variety of activities and clubs either because A) I wanted to do it, or B) because I wanted to copy my sisters and go with them. I was never forced into doing anything I didn’t want to do.
I think we’re quite lucky in our town, there is a huge variety of what is available for kids to do:
- Martial Arts
- Horse Riding
to name a few, I’m sure there are hundreds more that I can’t currently think of! There is definitely something for everyone!
Lily is now 6 and a half, an age where activities and clubs start to become more accessible. I didn’t want to force her into doing anything, but at the same time I wanted to make her aware of the possibilities waiting for her (if she wanted!) Martin and I would often drop hints and ask questions like, “would you like to learn to play an instrument?” followed by examples of different instruments and a YouTube video or two of what they looked and sounded like. Or we’d ask if there was any sport or activity she’d like to try. Swimming was one activity Lily actually asked about, and it wasn’t long after she mentioned it that her school friend started lessons, and so we managed to get her into the same class, and now there’s 4 of them from school who all go together! It’s been almost a year since she started, and she absolutely loves it.
I suppose at this age, children are still figuring out what their interests are. But thanks to CBeebies and Mr Tumble’s Something Special, I’ve recently enrolled Lily into joining Beaver Scouts after she saw an episode where Justin’s friend was a Beaver, and she was being awarded a badge. It really made my heart burst because I hadn’t said anything to her or suggested going, and she came up to me and said, “Mummy, can I start going to Beavers?” It was simply brilliant that Lily wanted to do something because she wanted to go, not because anyone had encouraged her to (Although her main reason for wanting to go is to get badges…haha!) So we had our first session on Wednesday. I stayed “just in case” but there was no need, I could have slipped out of the room and Lily wouldn’t have noticed! We’d agreed that we’d see how the evening went, and that there was absolutely no obligation to stay or continue going if she didn’t like it. Halfway through the evening she ran up to me with a beaming grin and said, “I want to come every week from now on!” I love it even more so, because I was once a Beaver too! I worked my way up from Beaver, to Cub, and then onto Scouts, and to see my daughter do what I used to love doing too just fills me with happiness and pride. I hope she will continue to enjoy going, but I won’t ever pressure her to keep going if she really doesn’t want to anymore.
I know it’s wonderful to see our kids follow in our footsteps, but they are their own beings. They have to want to do things, not just “because mummy and daddy did it when they were little” or because “they said so.” I don’t agree with living through your kids that way. If they choose to copy what you did that’s completely different! They’ve asked to do it! At the very least, ask and offer to your child and allow them the taster session, but don’t force it upon them. We’ve got to let them find their own feet.
I’m happy with where we’re at, I know in time Lily will become aware of other opportunities, and then we’ll have the fun of fitting them all in, alongside Williams clubs when he’s old enough! But that’s another 5 years away. (Overthinking much?!)
Do your children take part in any after-school clubs? Do you find your town has a good variety of what’s available to children?