Can you underschedule your children’s time too?

My son is a sportsman. He never wants to stop.
He plays rugby and football, is begging us to take in to a judo class and if he wasn’t able to play tig or British Bulldog or whatever the current game of choice is during breaktime at school, he’s had the most BORING day ever.

And boy don’t we all know about it.

Last year the after-school clubs at his school included short tennis, cricket, multi skills, yoga and cross country running.
He wanted to do every single one of them. I swear to you, it makes me feel tired just thinking about what that boy is capable of.
So he picked a couple (they really are quite cheap considering the coaching they get) to run alongside his beloved rugby as well as the football. Oh and he was having swimming lessons too.

But all the while he was taking part in these activities I was being gnawed with the age-old mummy guilt: was I over-scheduling a 6 year old?
So this year I cut back. Football and rugby. That still takes out 4 days, but at least he’ll be getting more ‘down time’, right?

Now I’m having another round of guilt. Am I under-scheduling him? Am I depriving my a clearly very energetic and enthusiastic young man?

My daughter isn’t the slightest bit interested in any clubs.
“I don’t want anyone telling me what to do” was her response when I asked if she fancied joining a gymnastics club (if you could see how this girl climbs you’d understand).

And when her best friend joined a ballet class I even asked if she wanted to go along to that.

I got a withering look and a “ballet?” in a raised voice, as if I’d asked if she’d fancy going to Thumb Sucking club and it was TOTALLY beneath her.

Like all parents, the bottom line is I want my children to be happy. To have a go at things if they want to and if they enjoy them to keep it up.

But how do you know when it’s too much or not enough? Or am I just thinking too much about it and should stop fretting too much about filling their free hours with “enriching” activities?

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