When I was a child, I did ballet for 10 years from the age of 3 to 13. She also sang in the church children’s choir with her sister and took piano lessons. She tap and jazz danced, did gymnastics for a while, and played softball and basketball in her teens.
Indeed, my older sister, who has always been more athletic than me, has been playing soccer since she was little, and has also participated in softball, basketball, cross-country, and cheerleading.
I don’t know how my mother, a single mother who worked full time, was able to transport us from one activity to another. we made it through. we were always involved.
I tried to follow that example with my children. In our family we have a rule that each child must participate in something involving at least one sport.My girlfriend’s 3 kids are soccer and softball, ballet, gymnastics, scouting and basketball. , and his son’s favorite tackle, playing his football.
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But what do you do when your child doesn’t want to do anything?
That’s what we faced when our kids got used to being at home, especially since the pandemic. But over the past 18 months, we’ve gotten our kids back into sports, and we’ve had a lot of complaints.
My youngest child complained about playing softball last spring. When I asked her if she wanted to go back to dancing, she said no. I asked her about tennis and again no. I encouraged her to play soccer again, or basketball.
But each suggestion caused an indignant sigh or wide-eyed eye.
“I just want to stay home,” my seven-year-old replied.
I explained to her the importance of keeping our bodies active and participating in teams and classes with other kids our age. there is not.
So I decided to enroll her in church league cheerleading, as practices and games would be on the same day my son was playing basketball. I found him sitting in the kitchen looking embarrassed.
“What’s wrong?” he asked her.
“I’m really disappointed in Mommy,” our youngest replied with a sigh. “She enrolled me in cheerleading.”
We held a round-table discussion about what my daughter really wants to do in regards to extracurricular activities. “I just want to paint,” she replied.
“So… an art class?” I asked. she agreed.
It took months and was on a waiting list before she found an after-school art class available in our area for her age group. When I picked her up from the art gallery, she held up a still life watercolor and had a big smile on her face.
“How was your class?” I asked her.
“I liked it,” she replied.
What happened to cheerleading? She played her first game last weekend, standing on the court with her pom-poms, cheering and laughing with her new friends. And while it’s not an activity she’s likely to do past this season, and she’s not the most energetic cheerleader on her team, it’s all about trying new things before deciding if you like her. It’s a learning experience.
“Mom, I decided cheerleading wasn’t so bad,” she told me from the backseat of the minivan after the first game.
“That’s great,” I told her.
“But I don’t love it as much as art. Or math,” she said.
I’m perfectly fine with that.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Please contact her at email@example.com.