25 answers

Should I Let My 4 Year Old Quit?

Hi Ladies,

My 4 year old begged me to sign her up for a ballet class and now half way through the year, she wants to quit. She is very outgoing and seems happy when I pick her up and is always talking to other kids so I can't figure out why she doesn't want to do it anymore. When I ask her she won't really give me a reason and she just says she doesn't want to go anymore. Although I'd like her to keep going with it(and not just because of the money we paid for the class, clothes, and shoes), my inclination is to let her quit because she's only 4 and really doesn't need to be taking ballet especially if she doesn't want to. But I'm worried that if I let her quit it might start a bad habit and she'll think that if something gets boring or if she isn't in the mood she can just quit. She did this last year with soccer - she wanted to sign up because her cousin played soccer and she seemed to be having fun playing the games but all the sudden wanted to quit. We encouraged her to stick with it and by the next week she was excited to go again. Anyway, I guess my question is this, how do you know when to make them stick with something and when to just let it go?

I know there really isn't a right answer to this, but if you could share your experiences and thoughts on this that would be great!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all of your responses and suggestions! I should have explained the situation better because there seems to be a lot of concern that I was just dropping her off somewhere on her own. Her ballet class is at her preschool and its right after preschool is over so the parents usually show up early to pick their child up so they can watch some of the class. I do usually watch most of her class (although my two year old does make that hard) and she seems to be having fun most of the time. After talking to her more this week, I think she just wants to come home after preschool rather than staying for the extra class because she's tired so I decided to let her quit this time. I'm sure this won't be the last time she changes her mind about something though since she always wants to sign up for everything - so I really appreciate all of the advice - I'm sure it will definitely come in handy in the future.

Featured Answers

Hi K.! I have a 17 year old daughter that has been involved in many activities over the years, softball, gymnastics, dance, soccer, etc. I always told her once we signed up and made the commitment, we had to stick with it until it was over (including things she did when she was small 4 or 5 years old). If she didn't like it, she didn't have to take it again, but once we enrolled, she had to complete it. I have to say, she has never quit anything and has always stuck with whatever activity she chose. I personally think it made her a more responsible person as well as taught her not to just quit when she had a hard time with something, that she had to hang in there. I also think it built her confidence as well.
If I were you, I would stay and watch her class while she took it just to see what was going on. That may give you some insight on how she's feeling. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Set a goal. You have to make it to the recital or you have to stick with it until this date. Sometimes kids want to give up because they don't see and end. Once she reaches the goal, if she still feels that way then let her.

1 mom found this helpful

I would make her stick it out. My daughters dance also. The 6 year old always hates the going there, but once we're there, she's fine. She just isn't good at transitions. Most dance schools are planning a recital or show for the end of the year already. They are learning the routines and this time of year can get boring, practicing to perfect. If you let her quit now, there will be a hole in where ever her spot was that they will need to fill. She made a commitment to the class and she needs to follow through. Maybe next year she might like something more exciting like tap or tumbling. Ballet is not the pink fluffy tutu's that most little princesses think it will be.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Since she is so young, I would let her quit, but let her know that the next time she signs up for something she will have to stick it out to the end.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.! I have a 17 year old daughter that has been involved in many activities over the years, softball, gymnastics, dance, soccer, etc. I always told her once we signed up and made the commitment, we had to stick with it until it was over (including things she did when she was small 4 or 5 years old). If she didn't like it, she didn't have to take it again, but once we enrolled, she had to complete it. I have to say, she has never quit anything and has always stuck with whatever activity she chose. I personally think it made her a more responsible person as well as taught her not to just quit when she had a hard time with something, that she had to hang in there. I also think it built her confidence as well.
If I were you, I would stay and watch her class while she took it just to see what was going on. That may give you some insight on how she's feeling. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

In my experience as an early childhood educator, most 4-year-olds are excited about almost anything that's new! They usually just jump in and find it to be a great experience. So if she's that adamant about not wanting to do it, there is probably a good reason beyond being bored. For some reason that we may never know, she feels uncomfortable, and my advice is to let it go.

In the future, you can ease into something new without making the commitment of spending a lot of money on extras, until you find out if she wants to follow through for the long haul. That's important to remember, because the older the children are, the more expensive their activities become! :)

And of course you'll want to continue to teach her that she can't just decide to quit if it's hard. That's something she can learn gradually as she gets older.

But as you said, there isn't any ONE right answer, so you can just think about these things, and whatever you decide will be the best decision because you're her MOM, and mothers really do know best! :)

1 mom found this helpful

My parents rule which I use with my kids is that once you start something, you have to finish it (the soccer season, the year of dance, whatever the time frame is). Once the season is over, they never have to do it again if they don't want to. I think even at four, it is important to teach commitment and responsibility. As long as she is happy, it probably is just that ballet isn't her thing, but it won't harm her to finish the year.

1 mom found this helpful

How is she at home about taking directions or practicing other things? Does she go along and do them or does she get easily bored and walk away from puzzles, games, and children's movies and shows?
I would stay at lesson/practice the next few times and see what is going on at the lessons. She may have just gotten bored with it. It may be several of the positions are difficult and just doesn't want to do something that is a little harder.
I took ballet at her age and mom let me start acrobatic lessons too at 5, I enjoyed the acrobatics much more and dropped ballet at six and added jazz dance class at 7 but continued with actobatics until junior high.
Frankly, when it comes to sports I do think we push a little to hard. We didn't have organzied sports for children under 7 when I was growing up and still produced some awesome athletes and when my son was growing up we didn't start sports until 5. I think that is plenty early.

1 mom found this helpful

Dance class is hard because you get so much money invested in it, and then it just drags out when you're that young. My daughter took dance class also, but she was 3. It was the same as you, halfway through she really didn't want to go anymore. I didn't blame her, when you're young, all you do is the same routine at class, week after week. So, I talked to her and said "If you just wait until you're recital, you get a trophy!" Well, every week, this was our discussion on our way to class. She REALLY wanted a trophy, so she was willing to go, but it was after a lot of convincing. As soon as the recital, she was so done with dance class! She hasn't wanted to back since, and she's 6 now. I try to sign her up for things like TBall that only last 6-8 weeks. She is now in a tumbling class though, and it seems to be going okay. It's a little more mixed though in things they get to do. So, my advice is see if you can give her something to work towards in the end, like a trophy or a special day of some sort. Then, when she's saying she doesn't want to go, you can remind her of her special reward in the end. Tell her that once she reaches that recital, she won't have to go back to dance class unless she wants to. That's what worked for me.

1 mom found this helpful

I have three children 9, 8, and 4. They all dance, play piano, and do a sport a season. They love everything they do. My Husband and I agreed early on that once we put the kids in something they had to stick with it for the season, in the case of dance it is usually August-September to May-June time.

The reasons are:
1. Once you allow them to quite it can start a habit.
2. Sometimes when it doesn't come easy for them they want to get out and we feel they need to be challenged. Life will challenge them and they need to learn how to deal with that. Not everything will come easy.
3. Once the season is over then wait until sign up time comes around and ask do want to do?...in your case dance. By the end she may have changed her mind and think dance was not so bad and do it again. Then she has some say in it, but you explain if we sign you up again then you have to do it until the end of the season.
4. Talk to the teacher maybe she was teaching new steps that she was having a hard time with or maybe she is standing next to someone that is not so nice. Her answer may be to quite to get away from whatever is really bothering her. If you can find some reason and give her some coping tools then she can work through it. Like if someone is not so nice have her pick another place on the floor to dance or ask the teacher to move her and sometimes it's the teacher, next year you could always find a new dance place.
5. When I was young I wanted to play the flute. My parents had to buy the flute and make sure I practiced. So they had talked to the band instuctor and he told them that until I had taken lessons for about three years it would be work...learning how to play, the notes, and how to read music. After that it would be come some work and more fun. I was told that because they were spending the money on the flute that I had to take at least four years and practice every night. I knew this going into it and I ended up playing until College. But....I learned to stay with something and keep trying until I made it.

1 mom found this helpful

I would make her stick it out. My daughters dance also. The 6 year old always hates the going there, but once we're there, she's fine. She just isn't good at transitions. Most dance schools are planning a recital or show for the end of the year already. They are learning the routines and this time of year can get boring, practicing to perfect. If you let her quit now, there will be a hole in where ever her spot was that they will need to fill. She made a commitment to the class and she needs to follow through. Maybe next year she might like something more exciting like tap or tumbling. Ballet is not the pink fluffy tutu's that most little princesses think it will be.

1 mom found this helpful

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