It's that time of year again - time to register for spring-time activities. The time of year that fills me with anticipation and fear. I look forward to having new activities begin, but I hate the process of trying to decide what to do, when to do it, and then the whole registration process... don't even get me started on that. The city has taken steps to improve their online registration system, so I guess we'll see next week whether it actually makes a difference. :P
Annika and Emmett will both be taking swimming lessons this spring (fingers crossed that I can get them both in at the same time!). This will be Annika's third time in her level, and Emmett's first time taking swimming lessons. I'm actually looking forward to starting swimming with Emmett, because he loves the water and I think it will be fun to actually do something with him (poor second child, he didn't get to go to any of the "mommy-and-baby" classes that I did with Annika). As for Annika, I'm hoping that she'll be able to master the skills needed, and get the confidence too, to finally move up from this "transitional" level. It feels a bit frustrating to be putting her in the same level again, but the instructor last fall didn't feel she was quite ready to move on. I've briefly contemplated private lessons for her, just so she can get a bit more one-on-one time and instruction (how much do the kids really learn when they spend about 1/2 the lesson just standing with their butts against the wall??), but we're going to try the regular lessons one more time.
I'm hoping to get the kids into Thursday morning swimming classes, because I think that would work best with our schedule. I've looked at the schedules for our nearest pool, and most of the times when they offer both classes at the same time are at 6:00pm or 6:30pm, which means we would have to rush supper (we usually eat at 6:00). There was a day that had the classes both at 7:00pm, but I'm wondering whether that would be a little late for the kids. They only go to bed at 8:00, but we've been finding with Annika's current ballet class (which goes from 6:45-7:30) that she often seems very tired and uninterested by then (even though she'll be excited about it earlier in the day). Often it looks like she's not having much fun and not paying attention very well (although, I think the teachers are not as good as the ones she had last spring, which also makes a difference). It makes me question whether it's worth it to put her in activities in the evening, if that's how she's going to be.
Which brings me to my other dilemma when registering for activities - how do you choose what to put your kid in? Annika has lots of interests, and we could probably register her for a different activity every day, but there's a limit to what you can all do (time-, energy-, and money-wise). Also, there are things that she's not too interested in, but I wonder if we should try some of those activities, just to give her an opportunity to try it out and possibly develop an interest? Growing up, I didn't play sports. I didn't like sports. I had a bad experience with playing soccer when I was little (got hit in the face with a ball) and to this day, I'm still not a huge fan of playing sports (although I do enjoy volleyball and tennis, every now and then). However, I often wonder, if I had been given more opportunities when I was younger, would I have overcome that fear and learned to enjoy sports? But as a parent, how do you know when to push your child, and when to back off? (I'm not blaming my parents for the choices they made for me, just "thinking" out loud. I'm actually very grateful to my parents for all the time and money they invested in my musical education, which is still an important part of me).
A friend of mine has told me about a book called "The Hurried Child" which is apparently about letting kids be kids - not overscheduling them, or pushing them to grow up too fast. I want to read it soon. I agree with the idea that kids need to have time to just be kids. They need time to just play in the backyard or dawdle over supper or go for bike rides around the neighbourhood. As much as I want to encourage my kids' interests and skills through different activities and programs, I also want to remember to give them time to just play. After all, there's still plenty of time for all that other stuff, right?