These days it seems as though kids have so many activities that they’re involved in…sports, dance, music, karate…etc. Parents are running all around trying to get their kids from activity A to activity B on time while trying not to over-schedule in the process.
When should all of this begin? When is the right time to start certain activities? Let’s take a look at what the general consensus of parenting experts around the web have to say.
When it comes to little ones, A.K.A. 3 and 4 year-olds, you may see tee-ball and soccer sign-ups available in your community.
At this age, the goal is to introduce them to the sport. You may notice they’re looking at the clouds during a game, but that’s to be expected since their attention span isn’t that great at this age. Every child is different. Some are ready and some should wait. If your child shows an interest when you’re playing in the yard and you think he can listen to directions a bit, you can try a sport at age 4 or 5. Many of the “experts” will tell you to hold off on the competitive stuff until age 7 or 8.
Many parents will play music for their babies in the womb so it should come as no surprise that any time is a good time to start music lessons.
While your one-year-old won’t be taking cello lessons, he can take part in music classes that encourage clapping and rhythm. Studies have shown that music lessons help to stimulate the left part of the brain which is important for language development. Music can also help with coordination and discipline.
Chances are you’ve heard of dance classes for little ones.
What’s cuter than a little girl in a tutu? Many parents will start their children in dance classes when they’re three. While this may be fun to burn off some energy, don’t expect them to nail choreography until about age 8.
- Gymnastics Similar to dance, gymnastics classes can start as young as four-years-old. There are many tumbling classes available if your child seems to like that type of activity.
Gymnastics is a popular activity for many children so don’t be surprised when many classes are filled up. You may not want to get into the harder classes until they hit grade school.
You are the best judge of whether your child can handle a certain activity. If you’re still unsure, children are typically ready when:
- They have minimal temper tantrums or outbursts
- They wake-up and go to bed at generally the same time everyday
- They are social and can make friends
You should also take into consideration whether you have the time to commit to take them to activities. When you sign your child up for an activity you should also teach them that when they decide to do something they should follow through. If you start to bail on activities, they will think that is the acceptable thing to do.
Remember, once you start rolling the ball of extracurriculars, you’re in for a long ride! Enjoy the time you can when you’re not on the road more than you’re home!