28 answers

Daughter Not Interested in Activities

I have a beautiful and VERY intelligent 6 year old daughter that is not interested in ANY of the fun activities you look forward to when you have kids (i.e. swimming lessons, dance class etc.) She is on a soccer team but moans and groans every time there's a practice or a game but my husband and I have kept her in it. My 3 1/2 year old son is up for anything and wants to take piano lessons and t-ball and anything else he can get into so I feel like my daughter is missing out. Should I force her to get involved with activities or let her sit out on everything?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I think 6 years old girl do need to develop some typical girlish activites,such as dancing, piano or sth. It might appear hard to begin with but as parents, we have to help them open more new doors of their life and help them find out their new interests. Come on, be tough if necessary!

You may have to try several different activities until you find something she enjoys. I was a "reader" from the time I learned to read. I could sit and read books and be alone for the longest time. My sister on the other hand HAD to be with friends all the time. Everyone is different so playing sports and being active may not be her thing. Good luck!

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My daughter was the same way and pretty much still is at 17. However she did eventually get involved in Drama and play production. She is now avidly playing guitar. My suggestion is while she is still young encourage her to try new things, don't force her to stay in them but she has to at least give them all a real try until she finds something that fits her personality and likes. Let her know she does need to find activities to do besides just school and home. Talk with her about what her friends do for activities, would she like to try any of them. Encourage her to talk to her friends about what they like to do. Perhaps she is more artsy? Maybe pottery or painting? These can be fun activities for the family as a whole and she just might blossom while doing it. Perhaps nature? Take walks with her and learn about the plants and animals, birds in your area...
These are just a few ideas, I hope they help...

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

My daughter is 8 now and she's been always that way, she is still is, she is only asking for something when a friend does it and usually because we ask her so many times what is it that she would like to do that she finally chooses something (whatever she doesn't dislike too much) Now for the first time she chooses to do Karate and commited to a year of the acctivity (I am hoping that she will because we have to pay anyway!!! She has been going for more than 2 month and still likes it (twice a week). Sometimes it is not about what you think they may like, she is very girly and never thought she would like Karate, buy I made a comment once that it would be nice to know some karate or tae kwon Do as self defense and that stayed in her mind...
She likes to swim but would never compete, she is starting competitve swiming this summer just because that is where she is supposed to be for her age, but I know that she will end up being the last one and won't care because she is not competitive and swims just because she like swimming.
She did dance, ballet, tap, jazz, gimanastics, soccer, tennis, skiing, ice skating, and my husband tried teaching her windsurfing or sailing....nothing worked! She does goes occasionally skiing with daddy, and tennis with him, but doesn't really want to.
Now she is taking piano (she wanted it?) but not practicing the way she should and not being very excited about learning either.
She loves reading, she is inside a book almost every day (new thing since last year) but non stop.
So my suggestion would be, suggest different things that she might want to try, tell her that unless she tries she won't know if she likes it and let her try and quit until she is interested, sometimes they ask to go back to somethign that they tried before....That happened with dancing, we will start again next season.
besto of luck!!!!!
M. Abadie

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.! I feel your pain! I have a seven year-old daughter and a five year-old son. My daughter is the same way, but my husband and I tell both the kids that they have to pick one activity per season. I let her look through the Johnson County Parks and Rec book and let her pick some activities. I also look for short-term activites (ie. dance camps, art camps etc...). Gymnastics is also a great option since you can go month to month. I hope this helps. I just tell my kids that is good to be involved and to try to find something that interests them.

1 mom found this helpful

she is probably shy. this sounds like me when i was her age. or she may not be interested in this kind of things. maybe ask her what activities she wants to try and see if u can switch them to somthing she is more comfortable with. maybe she is a fledgling intellectual and not into sports right now. Activities are not so crucial unless she doesn't interact with others her age or exercise much. do you have family activities on the weekend? perhaps she would like to spend more time with u and dad.

I have/had the SAME problem with my 9yr old daughter! We also did the soccer thing once, not to mention dance, cheerleading, girl scouts - you name it! I dreamed about spending my Saturdays in the spring and fall cheering on the soccer field, my summer evenings cheering at the softball fields, ect..ect.., but my child was having none of it! Then I came across an article in Child magazine discussing this exact topic and it talked about different sports for different personalities and the family in the article had a child whose personality was very similar to my daughters and they suggested gymnastics. I talked to my child, she actually acted interested, so I signed her up and she loves it. She refuses to play any other sport at this point, but at least we have gymnastics! Good luck!

Hi J., Mom of 3 full grown kids here and I run an activities program for people with disabilities, and am an artist; was more of a "hands on kid" growing up, and/or a spectator rather than an athletic type, loved the outdoors, making mudpies a favorite, to read and dress up in costumes (Halloween was a favorite). I will share some insights--please dont be upset, just have seen much--Wondering if you have consulted your peditrician just to determine if there is a physical problem. Is your daughter shy or fearful? did she have some tramatic event during a sports type event like getting stung by a bee, getting hit by a ball or falling? What are her preferences, what really interests her?--does she like to play in the mud, draw or paint, play dressups or does she love animals? Does she have a best friend at school who might go along and encourge her to participate. I would offer her more of anything she seems to enjoy yet insure she learns to swim. Maybe letting her be a spectator and take pictures-- or taking responsibility for "her dog". Talk with her Dr about aspergers syndrome(kids usually have very high IQ's) esp if she is a true loner, attracted to music or sounds, shows any repeatitive behavior. (specualtion that an allerigic reaction to childhood vacinations the cause for asbergers)good luck, C.

I wouldn't force her to do all kinds of things so she'll end up having a bad relationship with you, but I would force her to be involved in something. Explain to her your reasons for why you are wanting her to be involved in something. Tell her that you'll give her the option of things she can do if she chooses something, but you wont let her sit around all day and not do anything. Let your other child make choices also and do things, it's never too early to start your child in extra curriculars. My son at one point was the same way, he wanted to stay home and play video games. When I told him that he needed to choose something or else I would, he then made his choices. I wish you luck with your daughter.

I have the same situation except my 9 yr old is up for anything (she runs track, cross country, plays soccer, basketball & softball). My son who is 5 wants to do nothing. He is content to sit on the sidelines & watch his sister. He said he wants to play soccer this fall but only because one of his friends will be playing. I'm not sure how long it will last but I'm going to let him do it. If he wants to continue fine & if he doesn't want to play next season then that's okay too. As I have learned forcing kids to do something they don't want to do will make them resist it more. I offer the opportunity to my kids & let them decide if they want to participate. Some kids just aren't interested in sports. Maybe my son will want to do something else like Scouts.
I see so many parents having thier kids in the sports my daughter plays & you can tell the kids are miserable. They are the ones that goof off and eventually end up getting hurt.
Offer different things for your daughter to do & let her pick. Remember it is what SHE wants to do (she is the one who has to get out there & play & practice) and not what you want her to do or think she should be doing because all the other kids are doing it.

I am going to 1st ask you some ?s to ask yourself & then tell you about my neice. How long has she not been excited about doing fun things? has it been since the birth of your son? is it possible she feels abandon or is maybe depressed?
My neice is now 14 1/2 & an only child. She had foot problems when she was small which they got corrected by age 6.
She did not show an interest in anything but computers, game boys & t.v. Unfortunatly her parents did not give her choices to pick from to get her involved in anythingelse(in my opinion this is when she started becoming the parent, instead of the child) Her main activity these days is her gameboy(which she has always had with her & her mother being her best friend(very unhealthy for both) She is an almost straight A student & very obese.
Parents have a responsibility to encourage children to try diferent things for them to find their joy. So please consider my story & Be There for your precious daughter.

Have you two sat down on the floor and asked her what SHE really likes to do or would secretly like to do? Not every kid likes soccer; you're forcing her to do something she may no longer be interested in.Our daughter didn't want to dance, either, until much later; the swimming lessons were OK because there was a goal (going to the beach at family reunion). Have you tried just doing something for fun like putt-putt golf, peewee tennis, ice skating, etc. and gauging her reactions?

Find an activity that most matches her and have her stick with it like a job. She will learn to get involved. If it isn't an option to not be involved it might become a non issue. Or if she is reserved it will help her break out a bit. I think we have to help them develop a drive, it isn't always natural.

J., My son was the same way. I couldn't understand how a boy wasn't into sports. But, I didn't push him to get into sports. Gradually, he did take an interest in activities. All of us have different interests, and different likes and dislikes. I believe that if we force our children to do things that they don't like, they may grow up to resent that.

I have three girls who are the same way. Back when they were little, I believed these kinds of things should be their choice. Now that they are teenagers I regret allowing them to not be involved in anything. They're good kids, not into anything bad like drinking, smoking, drugs, but they are bored and lay around watching TV or are glued to the computer where they IM their friends. I've recently attempted to force them into an activity and got major resistance. I've told them they HAVE to be involved in one thing. You will have a much easier time with her when she's 6 than when she's 13. One of my daughters absolutely does not know who she is or what she likes. She's an adorable girl that everyone adores because she's sweet and cute and gets along with everyone. But she's empty as a person - with no particular likes or dislikes or any developed talents. Kids need activities, whether it's sports or arts or anything structured that helps them define who they are and what they like. You are absolutely right in making her continue soccer - at least for the current season. If she likes soccer once she's there, then the problem may be that feeling of losing her free time or parting with her friends. (I recall as a 5-year-old telling my mother that I didn't want to go to ballet lessons anymore because I wanted my Saturdays to myself. My mother listened to me and I regretted that big time. I love ballet! I was not old enough to make that kind of decision!) If your daughter is really resistant, she's still young enough to get the concept that a sport or activity is required as part of life just like school or church or cleaning her room. That's just what your family does. The lucky thing about the activity is, she should be allowed to choose it. The only choice she doesn't have is to choose nothing. Hope that helps!

Maybe your daughter has more of an introverted personality and doesn't like the team sport atmosphere. Ask her what she would like to do. Maybe she would prefer helping at the local public library, making crafts through your local rec, playing an instrument other than the piano, activities at church, painting, sculpting, or anything else artful.

Six year-olds have a pretty good idea of what they like and don't like. If getting involved is something that you see important to her social development (which I believe), let her decide what it is. Ask her for suggestions or what she likes to do and then search for activities in your community that meet those needs. You might have to look outside of the box

Good luck!

My daughter was like that with most types of sports (as was I as a kid) and hated going to soccer but wanted to be in it for the social value of it. She has developed her own interests and is really into art, theater and singing. She's taking theater classes and loves it (they have some great ones at the Coterie and many other places around town.) She's also taken art classes or workshops and loves those. She also loves to cook. None of these are the typical "team sports" but I believe society puts way too much value into team sports anyway. Why is it that most organized things for kids seem to be about competition?

Try finding out what she's interested in. When she plays, what does she choose to do? What is her idea of fun? Then go find activities that feed that. Local community centers are great for that kind of thing. Go from there and feed her interests and talents and you'll have a happy productive kid.

Be careful of your words and the energy behind them when you speak to her about what she want's to do. some children just don't get into sports or other activities at same ages or even then. Pay close attention to her ramblings for she is communicating to you what she feels.She may be just doing soccer because you have expressed she should be involved in some activity. Let me ask you a question. You said any activitiy you look forward to when you have kid's. Maybe this is more of what you may want for your daughter then what she want's. As parents we must be very careful of falling into the game of living our lives so to speak through them,i.e. urging more then guiding one to do an activity.If she is moaning and groaning,then she is really not happy with it or she is trying to gain attention from you as in the oh poor me aspect we humans do.Be calm with her as in really listening to her and she will help you to understand her. She is trying to be a little more of the person she will become.....I am a mother of 4,One 26 yr old son and a 20,19,and a 15 yr old girl's and they all played sport's but the 15 yr old knows more of the sport's in her head then her body so I let her guide herself in this with my support and when she moans about aches and pains or not being put in the game, I say to her well then quit. She says she is not a quitter but i know these words come from her coach.After this year, I don't think she will play basketball again. Let your daughter help guide you. Loving our kids is showing us the many levels of life.........

I would not push her to do any activity that she doesn't want to do. Maybe you can offer her some other choices or let her pick something out herself. Maybe she would like a martial arts class or some art classes. I think that there is to much presure on kids these days to do what everyone else is doing. She will learn to hate any event that you force her to do. As for your son they are different sexes and they will have different interest. He maybe more out going and more active. I know what I think will be fun for my boys tends to be something that they don't like. That's why we love them.

Hi J.,

Do you think your daughter may have an issue with her image or her weight? I know when we were kids, my cousin didn't want to do any physical activities because she didn't want to wear shorts, dancewear, or a swimsuit because she felt as though she was fat. She didn't like the way she looked in these clothes. Maybe one of her teammates or one of her peers may have made a comment to her about the way she looked that has made her feel insecure now. She may not be big at all, but you know how kids can be. If one of the kids said something to her, it may make her insecure for a while. Just a thought. Even a girl as young as your daughter can be pressured into looking thin. If you discover that her self-image is the issue, I would take her to see a counselor and nutritionist so that she can feel assured that her weight is not the problem. Good luck!

When I was a child my mom put me in softball. I had a hard time with it because I didn't feel as strong as the other girls. I hurt all over when they made us run and I wasn't really any good at batting. Not to mention that I didn't fit in with the other girls. I played 2 years because my mom kept signing me up.
Finally I got the courage to tell her I didn't want to play and she actually yelled at me! I cried so hard because I hurt while doing physical activities and generally felt crappy but I felt I had to please my mom so she wouldn't be disappointed.
PLease, Please be careful how you react and push. It's obvious your little girl is telling you and has been telling you that she doesn't like playing for whatever her reasons may be.... even something simple as not feeling accepted can be a deterrent, she may also find it hard to keep up physically.
I understand wanting her to try things, but she is trying it and she's clearly saying she doesn't want to do it. Hug her and tell her you are happy she tried it but don't push her to keep playing.

Maybe she is into art? Gymboree and other places have arts/craft classes. Some children are nervous about not knowing other kids. Maybe you could talk to another Mom of a daughter that is in her school class to she what activities her friends are in. Sometimes it helps ease their fears if their friend from school is doing the same activity.

You should keep encouraging your daughter to try things but don't force her to stay in something just because you think she should. Have her finish out the soccer season and then maybe find something else she might be interested in. Maybe she would be interested in a book club at the library, or maybe she just isn't into sports and needs to try something different. Ask her to pick an activity, give a few choices and let her decide, if you feel she really needs an activity. Let her know that whatever she picks she has to stick with for either the season or until a certain period if it is not a sport. That way she knows when the time frame is over that she doesn't have to do it again if she doesn't like it. Maybe in all the new things she'll get to try she will find something she loves. (if your worried about cost of special items needed for classes... like tap and ballet and those things, there are many places to get all the equipment used and reduce the cost.)

I would let you daughter be. If she does well in school, classroom activities and socializing with her peers, I wouldn't worry about activities. Your daughter does have interests, they are just not what you were anticipating they would be. Capitalize on her strong points, encourage her self esteem and as she matures, she may open up to the possibility of extra activities. For now, take note of her play at home and build on HER interests. Four your daughter, concentrating and enjoying school may be enough.
A. G

I am a stay at home mom with a 13yr old daughter, who is very involved in everything(volleyball, basketball, softball, swimming, drama) and has been since she was 5. I have a 10yr old son who was not interested in anything until age 8. We let him make the decision each season and he really wasn't ready until then. He has been to almost every game of his sister's and he has LOTS of friends and is top in his class academically. He also drives a 4 wheeler, he's a maniac on the go-cart, a fish as a swimmer (we have our own pool)and is very active. He just wasn't ready to play sports until then. People kept telling us he would be "behind all his peers". That is a lie! Too many parents have their kids so busy they don't get to be kids! When he finally said he wanted to play baseball, he wasn't the top player but he wasn't the worst either. We have just signed up for his third year playing. I am glad we waited until HE was ready. Do we want our kids in sports for their enjoyment or for ours? Good luck on your decision and may God bless you.
PS I have a 12 week old daughter too!! Mrs. KellyE

Hi J.,

My initial thought is, she's only six. My daughter just turned 7, and did soccer in the fall, but chose not to do soccer this spring. Truth is, after school she just wants quiet alone time to unwind. And I try to respect that by staying home in the evenings. Will we stay like this forever? Probably not, I have 2 other kids who will probably want to do activities. But for now, she's only in first grade, is she really missing out by not playing soccer or swimming lessons or dance?

Just my random thoughts, hope it helps a bit.

You've had a lot of suggetions, but I don't think I read any responses that suggested Girl Scouts or 4-H. Look for a local chapter or club in your area and go to the one of the meetings to see if she might be interested in one of those. Just a thought.

Take the time to not make a big deal out of this. Over a period of the day or week. Take the time to ask her what she loves, not likes but loves. And listen, she may be a book worm! And that is ok, then you can use activity to reward her loves what ever they are. Tell her you love her and it important to work out and then do the same thing with activities, what does she like the most. She's not going to love anything if she is into books etc. The more you push her the more she will hate it. So good luck.

I think 6 years old girl do need to develop some typical girlish activites,such as dancing, piano or sth. It might appear hard to begin with but as parents, we have to help them open more new doors of their life and help them find out their new interests. Come on, be tough if necessary!

You may have to try several different activities until you find something she enjoys. I was a "reader" from the time I learned to read. I could sit and read books and be alone for the longest time. My sister on the other hand HAD to be with friends all the time. Everyone is different so playing sports and being active may not be her thing. Good luck!

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