There was a time, early in my parenting career, when I said that I would not be one of those parents that scheduled their kids lives. I didn’t want to spend my children’s childhood in an endless series of organized sports. Funny thing, this is really easy when your kids are young and you can dictate what the schedule looks like. Up until this year, we have managed to enforce the one organized sport per kid per season rule. And it worked.
But the fact of the matter is, we have three very active boys. They each have a variety of interests. We are rapidly approaching the point where they have things that they want to try, things they want to learn. So our fall schedule is looking scary. And the routine that I had down to a science? It’s a thing of the past.
Over the last few weeks we have made some changes to accommodate a busier schedule. Dinners are later, we spread homework out over the week rather than focusing one night on it, and bed time is later. I’m sure there will be more changes in the fall when we add back hockey and the homework/activities schedule ramps up again, but we’ve made a start.
With this in mind, we are still exploring activities that aren’t organized sports. Here are five that have come to mind.
- Music lessons. All three boys love music, but Boy #2 has expressed an interest in learning how to play the guitar. While we haven’t yet committed to lessons, or the instrument, at some point we will.
- Scouts/Girl Guides: Ah, life skills. During one of the skating events that HockeyDad chaperoned with the school last winter, Boy #1’s friends made a very thorough, very compelling case for why Boy #1 should join Scouts. We had discussed it at the beginning of the last two school years, but had never made time for it in the schedule. But now we are going to. It’s time. The only thing left to decide is whether it’s just Boy #1 or all three boys.
- Art lessons. Boy #2 is the more creative of my three and he is forever making things. He got a book of how to draw cartoon animals at one point and spent a good three days working his way through it. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was carrying the book around.
- 4H. My fellow country kids will know what I’m talking about here. Similar to Scouts in terms of teaching leadership and life skills, 4-H was one of the few things that my siblings and I all participated in as it covered a wide variety of interests.
- Geocaching. Who wouldn’t want to go on a treasure hunt? This is one that is definitely on the list but I haven’t yet figured out how to incorporate it into the schedule. Once I do, watch out world. From what I understand, there is no need to get special equipment. You can use your smart phone to navigate, so it’s something that you can try out on a whim with little upfront cost. Win in my books with boys who are still discovering their interests.
I know there might come a point where it feels like every parent you meet has their kids in organized sports, and while that may be true, it is not a requirement for raising kids. And it certainly isn’t a testament to your parenting if you decide that it isn’t for you. There are endless options for things to do with your kids. At the end of the day, time spent with your little humans, whether organized sport, non-sport activity or time together at home, is time well spent.
See you at the rink,