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Too Much Involvement Harms Our Kids

posted May 5, 2009, 6:11 PM by Michelle Kretzschmar
Too Much Involvement Harms Our Kids
By Jennifer Lambert

Sports, art, language, Scouts, dance, music…we all want the best for our kids, but are we harming them by offering the best for them, what we never got? My family is no different. My five year old daughter wants to take every lesson and class that is offered in our community. I felt I should oblige since I never had these opportunities as a child.  Thus enters guilt.

I became a taxi service, chauffeuring her to gymnastics and ballet, T-ball practices and games, art lessons, and French classes. Thankfully, the music teacher came to our house! Since I homeschool, I scheduled lessons during the afternoon whenever possible. Nevertheless, evenings at my house were often spent in meltdowns because everyone was over-tired and irritable. We missed our evening meal together at the dinner table several nights a week due to T-ball. Saturday mornings, we rushed to T-ball games. After four months of this, I said, “Enough!” I had to downsize my daughter’s schedule for our sanity.

I made my daughter choose a couple lessons she wanted to continue for the time being. She decided to keep the French lessons and T-ball. I canceled the music lessons, gymnastics, ballet, and art. This was better almost immediately. She still asks almost daily for horse-back riding lessons. She begs to take Spanish classes and get back into gymnastics. She wants to dance. She longs to learn how to play the violin and piano, even though she wouldn’t practice before. She’s five years old! There’s plenty of time for her to develop into the virtuoso she believes she can be. Right now, she just needs to play and be a child as much as possible. I now cherish our evening meals together and our (mostly) free weekends as a family.