Sound Off! How Do You Choose the Best Activities for Your Child?

07/07/2009 at 10:30 AM ET
Celebrity Baby Blog Sound Off

Kids love being active. From soccer practice and arts and crafts class to ballet and piano lessons, there are a myriad of activities for children of all ages to try out. Some follow a more serious path, sticking with their favorite activities through high school, college and sometimes, beyond. But some realize early on they don’t love what they’re doing, and may ask to quit.

In yesterday’s Around the Web, we asked that when it comes to extracurricular activities, when is it OK to quit? On one hand, you don’t want your child to learn that giving up early is allowed, but at the same time, you’d never want to force him or her into something he or she won’t like. It’s a mutual decision, but one that takes some thought.

So here’s your chance to Sound Off! Tell us how you choose the most suitable activities for your child!

FILED UNDER: News

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 13 comments

Lila on

My daughter is almost 3, so we just try to pick thing that are age appropiate for her. She does Kindermusik and swimming, and she will be taking tumbling and tap in the fall.

As she gets older we will let her pick what she wants to do, and she will be able to change her mind as long as she gives it 3 weeks or chances. We don’t want her just quitting everything she does, but we don’t want to force her to keep doing something she hates either.

Meredith on

Before we let our daughter sign up for a new activity, we have a discussion about everything that goes into doing that certain activity. How long the commitment will last, how many times a week she has to practice, how much it is going to cost, etc. It has really proven to be invaluable to us as a family, as we ALL realize what our commitments are going to be in her partaking in the activity. We only allow ONE activity at a time, that way she isn’t overloaded. The rule regarding stopping an activity is, if she makes the decision to participate in it, she has to follow them through. In the instance of a lesson, she has to give one month’s notice if it is something she decides she no longer wants to participate in. Also, we all sit down and discuss WHY she no longer wants to participate, so we know her likes and dislikes so we can use those to gauge further endeavors.

Kate on

I don’t have kids right now, but when I was younger, my parents signed me up for everything — soccer, piano, gymnastics, art. As I got older, I got to choose what I liked and what I felt I was good at, and slowly quit the sports and got more serious about the music! I like that my parents gave me a range of options to choose from — not only did it expose me to a lot of different things (sports, music, academics and more) but let me choose something I really loved.

Jacquie on

With our family, it has greatly depended on the child’s temperment. My oldest has never wanted to try new things and I forced her to try a few things but then I realized I was really doing more damage than good. She is almost thirteen now and is in vocal at school and went out for track this year. That was the first time she had ever decided on her own to join something so we were excited about that. Now my youngest who is 6.5 yo wants to join EVERYTHING so we have been trying to let her experience different things and yet keep her from being overloaded by too many activities. So far she has tried dance, gymnastics, Girl Scouts and swimming. Right now for the summer she is in gymnastics and swimming. We discuss with her which she likes best and she gets to chose. She also has a personality where she won’t quit…very tenacious that one! So we haven’t been confronted with her wanting to quit things. For my oldest, we have usually told her she has to try it until the end of the school year (for band) or the end of the season and then she just won’t go out that next season.

gaia's mommadukes on

My daughters only 13 months but she’s in baby swim classes and she really likes it, she cries if when we get out the pool and she mimics the instructors movements. Its my plan to keep her in the water because that’s what she likes and its a real skill.

Gaia also seems to be musically inclined so in the next year or the year after we’re definitely getting her involved with piano since we have one in my home. Growing up in my mothers home I had the opportunity to try an array of things and my mom didn’t pressure me into sticking to anything in particular but I had to finish out my commitment. I will do the same thing with my daughter.

Brandi on

My boys are both in swimming lessons and tball and they enjoy them very much. My older son also goes to the town rec departments day camp on mwf which he loves. Tomorrow they are going to the waterpark and he cannot stop talking about it. I wouldn’t force them to continue in activities they didn’t love though. My mother made me take piano lessons for years and I really resented her because of it.

Mary on

My sister puts her kids in EVERYTHING: baseball, soccer, dance, horseback riding lessons, art classes, piano, Kindermusik, guitar lessons, swimming, Boy Scouts and so much more. My kids are starting to get older and all we’ve done is swimming and t-ball. But we talk about how important it is for kids to get these experiences. We feel it’s important because our mother never did it for us. We would have loved the opportunity to just try some of the above mentioned activities but never had the chance. Oh and we never push our kids to join, ever. But the one rule is: if they start something, they have to finish.

Jennie on

Our children do activities based on what best suits their personalities and interests. But we also have to take into account the good of the rest of the family. My oldest daughter had to quit horseback riding for the time being, due to our family finances and the fact that I couldn’t take the other kids with me to her lessons. Maybe she’ll want to continue at a later date, maybe not, but right now it just wasn’t feasible for our family as a whole.

Bancie1031 on

My daughter is 8 (9 in September) and she has done cheerleading since she was 5, Swimming since 4 and is now doing tumbling and Gymnastics …… and she’s talking about trying soccer.
My opinion is if they express interest let them try it to see if they like it as long as it’s age appropriate.

Anon on

I love your daughters name Gaia’s mamadukes! Is it pronounced Guy-uh or Gay-uh? Whats the origin?

Maria on

My son is barely 5 and he’s doing swimming,which he really likes.His dad (we’re together but not married) was raised in this super demanding family and his mom enrolled him in way too many activities which he hated😛 My parents on the contrary never pushed me too hard,I chose gymnastics and ballet myself when I was 6 but got bored of the latter in less than a year.My brother’s hobby is playing the guitar in a band he has with his friends and Minas (my son) is always watching him transfixed so we’ll probably ask him if he wants to do guitar lessons in 2 years or so.After all he’s a child,he needs to have fun and not hate activities.

gaia's mommadukes on

Thanks! We pronounce it guy-uh. It actually means ‘earth’ and its greek. Her first name is Gaia-Raphael. I thought it was feminine without being hokey and I probably won’t have anymore kids but I’ve always like the name Raphael for a boy so we gave it to her. Gaia doesn’t really fit a baby tho so we call her fee.

lovato999 on

Soccer,dance,gymnastics, and piano are really good exra curriclar activities. I have a 2 year old girl named Catalina and I definitely want her to do one of those activities when she gets older at least 6 years old.

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters