As parents, we constantly want to provide the best for our children. We want to make sure they are healthy, physically and mentally, and encourage them in creating meaningful relationships. One of the ways we accomplish this by putting our kids into a hobby or extracurricular activity. You know, the ones that occupy our time for about oh, 2 hours per class, about 2-4 classes a week… you do the math – it’s super time consuming. It can be daunting, but really it’s all for the hope that our little ones will develop a life-long skill, boost their confidence, develop a love for something that inspires them and spark an interest and curiosity.
I’m one of those parents.
My oldest has been in gymnastics and my youngest in dance. For my oldest, we’ve tried everything to get her to like something; piano, soccer, ballet, tap, swim, but none of these were a hit with her until a friend recommended rhythmic gymnastics. Think of it as the kind of gymnastics with the long-legged, lean girls who do flips in the air, adorning hula hoops and lovely ribbons. A beautiful sport indeed, but requiring time and patience on both the parent and the child. We’ve been doing this for about half a year and I swear, the first few minutes of each class is like pulling teeth, “mommy, I don’t want to,” “mommy, I gotta pee,” “mommy, I’m tired,” “mommy, I don’t feel like it.” Each time, after coaxing and sometimes bribing, she finally attends the class, successfully I might add, with smiles and shiny stickers to show for it.
The bribes aren’t working anymore.
Lately, however, these bribes have not been working and she has been screaming bloody murder before gymnastics, so much so that at one point we just sat it out looking at the other girls stretching and learning the routines.
From then on, every time I even mentioned the “G” word (gymnastics), my daughter would say “no means no” and “I’m not going.” I finally decided to have a serious talk with her about it. First, I acknowledged her worries of not wanting to go to the class. Next, I said that I see her having such a great time doing it and lastly, I said that both mommy and daddy know what is best for you and therefore you will continue the class and we will be watching you through it. I even added a sticker chart for good measure.
And voila, like magic, IT WORKED!
Yes, there was crying. Yes, there was “I don’t want to go”, but you know… she did it and loved it. The show must go on!
Let’s here your story!
What are some of your extracurricular tips for other parents? What hobbies has your child tried? Any rewarding stories? I’m all ears!