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Children today have a tremendous amount of opportunities’ to participate in after school activities.  These can range from music and language classes to a variety of sports activities.  My belief is that it is important for my daughter to try a variety of activities in order for her to figure out what resonates with her heart.

Currently her love is dance and music, of that there is no doubt.  Her journey along the way has had her experimenting with ice skating, gymnastics, drawing classes, and swimming, as well as guitar and flute lessons.  She was also a Brownie for a while; as well as participated in our church's children and bell choirs.

There is a balancing act to ensure that our children don’t get too stressed out due to the demands of too many activities.  When my daughter entered Elementary School we had the house rule of no more than 3 activities during the week; meaning that each activity is typically 3 - 1 hour's long.  This left plenty of time for homework, bath-time, playing with friends, and let's not forget the all too precious act of resting.

I strived to keep the activities to ones associated with church or Girl Scouts, a favorite and also something new.  When my daughter and I discuss what activities she’ll do the next year she understands that this is a commitment for the entire school year.  This gives her plenty of time to get over the novelty of the new activity and also teach her about how important commitment is.

There were activities that when she got into the 4th or 5th month she decided it wasn’t her favorite; but she knew she had to continue to take the lessons until the agreed upon time period.

If she wanted to do more than 3 then she would have to make the decision on which activity she was going to give up.  This taught her that life is about choices.  As she got older, the amount of activities she can participate in has increased.

With my daughter now in Middle School the limit on activities rule is gone away.  She now needs to earn the privilege to participate in after school activities by keeping her grades in good standing.    With the level of technology in school’s today parents are able to have daily and/or weekly updates on how their children are doing in school; allowing us to keep a watchful eye on the balance of how after school activities are impacting their ability to get homework done or have enough study time for tests and big projects.

My daughter understands that the priority is School and that there is a direct correlation between her grades and her ability to participate in after school activities.  With this knowledge she feels empowered; and her grades have exceled because of it.  I still find that I need to keep a watchful eye on her activities so she doesn’t get too tired or feel too stressed but like anything else in life...the more practice she has with it the better she is at it.

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