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Old 01-14-2008, 05:25 PM
Location: New York
371 posts, read 1,785,518 times
Reputation: 250


Hi all. I was curious. How many of you have young 3, 4, and 5 year olds involved in structured sports, playtimes, etc. and how important do you believe it is? I was raised without any of it and yet, today I feel guilty that my son is not signed up for some sort of activity or sport. I'm a stay at home mom and am really enjoying this last year we have together before he starts kindergarten. I do belong to a M.O.P.S. (Mothers of preschoolers) that meets twice a month. He gets to play with others then and has structured crafts and what not. We have a membership at the zoo, aquarium and gardens (its a all in one package) and we have a family membership at our local wildlife park. I do at least one of these once a week. That's more than I had as a child, but I feel guilty a lot about him not having more friends and being involved in things.

I really want to know what others are doing at this age level. Thanks in advance. I love this forum if you couldn't tell.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:23 PM
Location: Red Sox Nation
660 posts, read 2,418,752 times
Reputation: 428
I understand what you are saying. When I was a preschooler, I just stayed home. Occasionally we went to the library, pool, Disney, etc...and I did go to Sunday School, but that was about it until I started Kinderarden. My 4 and 5 year olds are busy, but not overly scheduled. They have pre-school 3 afternoons a week, from 12-3 (it includes lunch). We belong to a structured play group that meets one morning a week, and they take a 1/2 hour indoor swim class on Fridays. How is your son doing? Does he seem content, or does he want an activity or sport? For my kids, this works, and I think the socialization they are receiving has been really good for them. They really love school, but every child is different, and I think it is a mother's DNA to feel guilty no matter what we do.

Last edited by 2KidsforMe; 01-14-2008 at 06:24 PM.. Reason: sp
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:03 PM
1,261 posts, read 5,517,099 times
Reputation: 551
It sounds to me like your son has a fair share of socialization through the activities you are involved in. I think how much a parent does depends on the family's resources and the child's personality. My daughter is younger than your son (she is 2) and I've made an effort to get involved in structured activities mostly because she is an only child right now and is a social butterfly. I belong to two mom's groups that meet weekly. Also, once a week we go to a library event. When she turns 3, I plan to enroll her in a pre-K program two mornings a week and perhaps a class of her choice. Like you, I didn't grow up with these activities, but I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by cousins my age so we played plenty.
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:24 PM
Location: Back in MADISON Wi thank God!
1,047 posts, read 3,239,170 times
Reputation: 1382
the most important thing is to not feel quilty that your son is not in "structured" activities.I went through that same feeling with my oldest.Every one I talked to was doing some sort of class or group or whatever with their kid. I started signing him up for stuff that he just hated and we were both miserable! I never had that stuff either as a kid.We all just stayed home with our mom's and played with the neighbors.If you are both enjoying yourselves,you are doing the right thing.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:00 PM
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,629,326 times
Reputation: 1270
I have two kids ages 8 & 5. We do activities, but not to the point of overload. I have some friends that run themselves ragged with everything they are involved in. Feeding my kids happy meals in the car while running from one activity to another, multiple times a week is crazy to me.

We do scouts, weekly library story time, visit with friends etc. We take a lot of walks on the nature trails around here which is a learning experience each time we go. During the summer we go to the lake with our friends on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We bring a lunch and turn them loose to play. Just being a kid and having time to play in the mud, or build giant Lego structures is just as enjoyable to my kids as structured activities. My kids also LOVE to garden. We are planning a big garden this year. The last few years we have had small gardens. But we are going all out this year. Little league starts this year for my son. So that will be a fun experience for our family.

One thing I have noticed with some of my friends kids is they don't have the skills to play on their own. They want their parents to provide entertainment 24-7. Their kids (I am talking about 3-8 year olds) want to spend money on everything under the sun to keep themselves busy, and I think that is setting them up for disappointment later on in life. Do what works for your family. Don't feel guilty over this or it will never end.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:25 AM
Location: New York
371 posts, read 1,785,518 times
Reputation: 250
Thank you all for your responses. I must say that my son is an only child and is also a social butterfly, but if I would let him we would be doing something every second of every day. I wish there were more kids his age in our area, but feel once he starts riding the bus to school in the Fall we will meet more friends and I will start scheduling playdates. He's one of those kids that has problems entertaining himself, but he's slowly getting better. We're leary about little league in our area because its in the Spring and in the Spring is when it gets REALLY windy here to the point businesses sometimes close down. (New Mexico is the area by the way). Plus my son really would rather play soccer, which doesn't start until the Fall.

I really wondered if there were any kids that just stayed home with Mom and did things with their Moms and I guess the answer to that is no. Glad school for him starts in the Fall, but God I am going to miss my partner. When he visits Grandma and Grandpa overnight I feel lost. Pretty pathetic I know.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:45 AM
1,363 posts, read 5,343,785 times
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If I was a SAHM my daughter would be doing stuff with mom . I don't think all the organized activity is necessary. She has cousins and friends' kids to play with when we get together. When my daughter turns 3 I will sign her up for a dance class because I want excercise to be part of her life-and those little recital outfits are just too darn cute! If circumstances make it so that she can't take the class, that's fine too.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:14 AM
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,581 posts, read 42,755,715 times
Reputation: 57257
I think there's a happy medium between thay way it used to be and the way it is now.

When my kids were growing up they were happy with an old cardboard box in the back yard, and making their own fun with their imaginations. This is very important, however, there are some really great enrichment opportunities out there for kids, too.

Just do what you feel is best for your family. Do not get sucked up into the whole competitive overscheduled madness, which causes stress for everyone. I think it's more important to look at your kids around the dinner table almost every night than to hit the fast food joint on the way to this or that activity.

I think there are some kids today who don't know how to use their imaginations unless someone tells them what to do (The old "I'm bored" problem).
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