May 202014

Bounce (Photo credit: JanetR3)


“Mom, LOOK!” shrieks the bouncing fourth-grader, waving a flier under your nose.  “It’s time to sign up for _________.” (circus camp, music lessons, archery)

A parental ‘deer in the deadlights moment,’ for sure.  How do you balance an already over-packed schedule, a child’s enthusiasm and time at home? After all, until we get used to it, any new activity takes up a lot of space.

Children think about new uniforms and teammates. Parents wonder about sign-ups, physicals, practice schedules, transportation, equipment, fund-raising, banquets and whatever else will be asked.  And, while most of us would like our kids to have a wide range of experiences, it’s not always possible to enroll them in everything that appeals to them.

What happens when you do give in to a child’s begging only to discover that he doesn’t like it as much as he thought he would?  Or, that she doesn’t really have a knack for it? And, now that you’ve got the ‘support structure’ in place, they want to quit the team? What’s a parent to do when they find that a child is floundering in a new activity?

It’s can be a tough call.  Before they leave a troublesome or difficult activity behind, is there something that they can learn that will help them to do better the next time?  Is there potential benefit in participating without being a ‘star’?

Sometimes the real trophy is the character-building that comes with warming a bench and leading the cheers.  The opportunity to learn to maintain a positive attitude when they’re rather be doing something else may be well-worth all the carpools, extra laundry and snack schedules combined.



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  6 Responses to ““Mom, I Want to Quit the Team””

  1. Andrea, having grown up in Germany….there are no after school activities really. Only few. And you cannot compare them to what is done and offered in the states. In Germany families go to out of school clubs or schools. The clubs usually have a very inexpensive annual fee. The schools ie. dancing school bear a monthly fee. The only after school activity I ever followed was Volleyball and Dancing. But both were started when I was a teenager out of my own initiative. To dance class I took public transportation. To volleyball mum or dad drove me. I have no children but I definetely think I would approach this topic via the german saying:” man kann nicht auf allen Hochzeiten tanzen” one cannot dance at all weddings. It thins out your energy – your lifeforce. I would much rather have one powerful stream focused on a few things I love then to be all over the place. In english it goes something along the lines of : jack of all trades, master of none, right?

    • Good translation, Nadia… very similar meanings. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments ~ I really like learning more about the German culture.

  2. Super thought-provoking post Andrea! I have four daughters, and the schedules can can pretty hectic if we let them! We like to eat dinner as a family every night that we are able…so along with that and all the other obligations of life…we allow each child to participate in one extra-curricular activity at a time. They can then fully participate and they will learn if they like it and are good at it. If not, they move on to the next activity that excites them. If so, then they stick with it and improve!

  3. Excellent post. I’m with Deanna! We like to have dinner with our daughter every night. One Activity at time!

  4. One of the lessons we teach our kids is when you make a commitment to a team, you are making a commitment until the end. There are so many important virtues we try to instill in our children and this is certainly near the top! Great article!

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