19 answers

My 7 Year Old Daughter Isn't Interested in Anything!

I have a problem that may not be a problem at all. I can’t get my 7, soon to be 8, year old daughter interested in anything. When she was much younger I signed her up for ballet and dance and she was miserable so we stopped. She was very shy and had trouble in groups. She still is shy but does much better and does make friends. She has an older brother who plays soccer and baseball and will try new things. We encourage our children to do just that - try new things with no expectation that they will be star athletes or star dancers, etc. Both kids take piano and really neither one of them loves it but they both do well. She used to like art (and I think it provides a good outlet for her) so I signed her up for fun art classes and she did quite well but now won’t do those. I know we all have times in our lives when we like something and then move on so I have tried hard to not push her. She wanted to try tennis last summer so I signed her up for lessons and she did quite well. This year she refuses to go to lessons and I tried making her which was a failure - she was miserable and pretty much refused to participate. She did like a gymnastics class after school that has ended - it was very low key and she knew some of the girls in the class and did well (meaning she participated and seemed to have fun). Now she has nothing after school. I don’t want her to become too sedentary but also don’t want to push - if she had it her way she would come home and watch TV. I have offered horse back riding lessons (no) and we recently joined a new pool - she is an awesome swimmer but is refusing to join the swim team even though she knows some of the kids on the team. We did move to a new neighborhood in the last year but she has transitioned amazingly well and has made new friends and had done well in school. I know it isn’t fair to compare siblings but her older brother will pretty much try anything even if he isn’t good at it. I just don’t want her to miss out on discovering that she might actually enjoy something that she didn’t expect to. Any advice?


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It sounds like normal kid "attitude." I think as long as you limit her TV time and computer time, she will find things that interest her. Even if she just likes to read and play for 6 months solid, let her. She will develop interests on her own.

But if she seems to socially withdraw -no friends - or just sleep, then I would get worried she is having some sort of problem or is depressed.

You say she does well, but she's shy. Maybe she doesn't want to go back because the social interactions are hard for her with people she doesn't know, or may know, but not well. Have you tried teaming her up in an activity with a friend? Sometimes I coordinate with the mom of one of my daughter's friends when I'm trying to get her to try something new so she has some sort of comfort level. We sign them up for the activity together. While the activity may be new, they have familiarity with each other to ease their anxieties or shyness.

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First of all, I would suggest don't push. The more you push, the more your daughter will pull away. And turn off the tv after school. Set a time limit, and once her tv time is up, the tv goes off.

You've said that she isn't too fond of large groups. Is it the noise? Maybe too loud? If the situation is loud and boisterous, she might feel very uncomfortable.

This is going to sound a little crazy, but what about golf lessons? My son started at age 7 and loved them! You're outside, it reasonably quiet, & the groups are relatively small. Plus golf is a social game that she would be able to play her entire life. I'm not sure where you're located, but the First Tee program through the Hampton Roads YMCA has a junior golf program. It's not very expensive for lessons, and for clubs, watch the paper for a used junior set.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, S.. I have a seven-year-old daughter too. She, perhaps like your daughter, does not like to be overscheduled (though she does love her ballet class). Your daughter may just be a kid who needs a lot of what my daughter calls "chill-out time" whereas you're focused on classes and organized activities, which she may love in a few years but not now. You say she's a good student and makes friends, so don't stress over the lack of organized, formal activities. Over the summer, play with her yourself and arrange plenty of play dates -- unstructured, let her and her friends hang out (with toys and games or outside, not in front of the TV!) and you quietly keep an eye from a distance to see how she interacts, what interests her (does she pretend a lot? Does she prefer analytical games? Does she just want to groove to music in her room? etc.) That way you get to know her personality better but without pushing her towards organized classes all the time. Most of all I'd say avoid TV as much as possible and spend lots of time at the library and/or bookstore hanging out, at the playground being active, etc. And when school starts again, listen carefully to what she says about what she likes at school--she might not like piano lessons now but might want to join the school band later, etc. Most of all have fun with her! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

hi S. H,
I can relate to your dilemma. I have a 10 year old son, who has been like that most of his childhood. He was never interested in organized sports, he's never done soccer or baseball or swimming. He participated briefly in indiv. sports like gymnastics and martial arts, but his committment wavered.

He is also very shy and can be very stubborn in trying new things. He has mild sensory issues which also means transitioning to new experiences can be hard for him and sometimes he will not try something that he might really like!

We have pretty much let him be himself. He is very into computers and reading. He is going to a computer camp for a week this summer and he is reading programming for dummies books. He recently wanted to sing with the school chorus and expressed interest in doing musicals, so now we are doing OKlahoma this summer. He's not that good, but hey, I was thrilled he was interested. This is all new, and at 8 he was not interested in anything extra-curricular. The lack of activity does concern me but we stay active as a family, hiking, biking, taking walks. He knows his dad and I work out so that is a role model.

I know it is hard to see that everyone else has their kids in all kinds of sports, but if you let her be who she is, she might surprise you with an interest soon. Don't be concerned if it's not a sport type interest. I'm convinced my son is going to be a computer geek, but that's just the way it is.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same issue with my son at that age. He is 11 now. He tried several sports but just didn't like any of them. After taking a year or so off from "trying" he discovered on his own that he loves to sing! He is now a meember of our church choir and local college children's choir. We got him his own karaoke machine, microphone, mic stand, etc. and he's as happy as can be. Hang in there, she'll find her niche...just let her do it in her own time. :)

1 mom found this helpful

She does seem to have tried quite a lot of things, and they don't appeal to her. Don't worry about it. I remember being seven, even though it was 55 years ago. My parents took me to Brownies and being very shy I was petrified of having to take the oath in front of others and feared I would not remember anything. It stopped me from continuing at least that was part of the reason, the other part was I couldn't abide being in a roomful of screaming little girls. Perhaps your daughter just doesn't want to be surrounded by other girls. It can be a nightmare for a shy child to be put in that situation.
I found an interest in Ballroom Dancing and that was the thing for me and as it is something you can pretty much pursue all your life I can still dance and get exercise.

I think mainly you should give the child a break, she has friends does well in school, she just doesn't want to be active. If she is over-weight you may have a problem but if not she may just prefer to be quiet. TV isn't a good idea but there are other things she can do on her own or with her friends. She doesn't need organising. Some children are quite happy doing their own thing and don't want to be involved. If she is happy enough let her be.

I wouldn't worry over much about it, but I understand what you're saying. It sounds like she particularly doesn't like sports or competitive type things. Have you considered girl scouts? I loved it, and am still friends with some of the girls for the last fifteen years or so.

You say she does well, but she's shy. Maybe she doesn't want to go back because the social interactions are hard for her with people she doesn't know, or may know, but not well. Have you tried teaming her up in an activity with a friend? Sometimes I coordinate with the mom of one of my daughter's friends when I'm trying to get her to try something new so she has some sort of comfort level. We sign them up for the activity together. While the activity may be new, they have familiarity with each other to ease their anxieties or shyness.

Hi S.,
I haven't read all of the responses.... we just stumbled upon Tae Kwon Do classes in Woodbridge. There is a website: woodbridgemartialarts.com

They let you try it out for like $20 bucks for two weeks, and you get a free uniform. The classes are on a 'show up' basis so its not always the same kids each class. My son really loves it and my 19m old girl gets into it too. It is a chunk of change if you decide to go past the trial, but they prorate the cost if you cancel the contract early.
They take their time with the kids. If one kid is having a problem with a move, they work with them. They praise them when they do well in school, or their home behavior chart and reward them with school points. They are in a class with other kids, but there isnt really pressure to 'be friends' or in a clic like what can happen in sports and dance.

The part I like about it is that its exercise - they start each class with jumping jacks, situps, and stretching, its indoors, and its year round.

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