After School Activities... - Sebastopol,CA

Updated on February 08, 2011
A.D. asks from Sebastopol, CA
11 answers

My 8 year old daughter has no desire to do any after school activities. Everything I suggest or offer, she immediately says, "no". Even things that her friends are doing: dance class, gymnastics, piano. She is a shy kid, as I was at her age. My mother made me join a dance class, and in the end I really enjoyed it, but it took a while. Should I insist that she join something, or just let it rest, and see if one day she comes across something that she really wants to do? Thank you for your help......

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answers from Tallahassee on

I've heard that martial arts are great for kids and they can really benefit socially as they begin to feel more confident about themselves. What about a taekwondo or karate class? It would help her stay fit, learn discipline and respect, make her feel more confident about herself and teach her self defense.

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm not quite sure what the big push for is for kids to be "buried" in after-school activities. Why can't a kid just be a kid? Why does everything in a child's life have to be organized?
That being said I would like to encourage you to take her to different activities and her let her experience them from a spectators might peak her interest in something....but you might have to accept that it won't.
I asked my oldest son for several years if he wanted to try this or that....but he wasn't interested in anything until middle school. Then he discovered running. He is a sophomore now and totally passionate about running. He's a long distance runner and he won so many awards this year at the banquet that we had to bring them home in a box. He's been in band since the 6th grade too (percussion). Then we moved to San Jose after middle school and he stayed in band but his band director made him learn the trumpet (which is is quite good at) and wouldn't let him play percussion. My son has decided not to do band next year for many reasons, but in part because playing the trumpet is not his choice and he doesn't enjoy it as much.

I think your daughter will figure out what she loves on her own soon enough and though I think you should encourage her I don't think you should force her.
Every minute of our kids day doesn't need to be just need time to be kids...

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answers from Austin on

You know her best. If she really does not want to participate or has absolutely no interest, why waste all of your time and money?

Our daughter was never into sports.. ALL of her friends were in some sort of soccer, basketball volleyball, gymnastics, hockey, track.. Forget it.. our daughter did not give a hoot.

But in 6th grade, she announced she wanted to learn to row! Like in sculls! We have no idea to this day, why she wanted to try it.. She loved it. She continued for 6 years and finally had 1 semester where she actually had time to be on the team. She loved it.

Up until then, every once in a while we would hear about an art class that she would agree she was interested in. She was ALWAYS interested in volunteer opportunities, so we just followed her lead. She was awarded the, Presidential Gold Award for Volunteering, every year from 5th grade till she graduated.

She joined a math club for a while and then the art society in high school.
She was a child that just knew what she wanted and did not want and we honored that.

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answers from Redding on

Some kids just don't like to take part in all that after school stuff. I wouldn't push it. Most kids are overloaded with too much and it runs us crazy trying to get them to every practise and game, so lighten your load and don't push her into it until she wants to join. I would however, take her to a few games of classmates, and piano recitals, plays, and concerts. Make sure her friends know you would love to be invited to join them for the evening and share thier activities and you might see her brighten up and change her mind and want to join in. Once she sees how much her classmates enjoy what they do, she may really branch out.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'd just keep offering and see what she seems interested in. She might want an activity a little off the beaten path. Does she like to read? Sometimes libraries have kids book clubs. They also might have beading classes, Lego time, etc.
She might not be interested in the traditional "girl" things that you mentioned.
I have an 8 yo son and he LOVES baseball, but soccer--not so much and even though "everyone" does it--we stopped beating our head against that particular wall! haha

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answers from Lincoln on

I make my boys do all activities at least once. I don't ask, I tell.
"Hey boys, I signed you up for baseball! You start next week!"
"But we don't want to do baseball!"
"How do you know? You've never played." Then I walk away.

Most things I make them do they end up loving and having a great time. If they really hate it I don't make them do it again, I find something else.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hmmm...if she never tries, how will she know what she likes? I would give her a few choices and make her pick one and try it for a set amount of time. What do you notice that she is good at, or does on her own? Most of my mom friends insist that their children are in one music activity and one active/sporting activity at all times. I think this is reasonable.

My 8 year-old daughter is in Karate (I am also, and I strongly suggest this for anyone who isn't interested in team sports), swimming lessons, piano lessons, and theater class each week.



answers from San Francisco on

As the mother of 5 I want to give this thought. You can push and hope or you can lead and see what happens.
For our shy child we got him going to Dog Shows and learning all there was about Dalmatians and Rotweilers, we found that he really like the drums and music was a great outlet for him as well. Since his father's death his brothers have taken him out to the gun range but its not his interest, but Warhammer is and I think the math skills he has gained are remarkable you get to use Algebra in the game wo knowing it! Try a class together be it dance or star watching and see what kinds of communication you can open up. My son loves to volunteer to clean out the animal cages 2xs a year at the local zoo. Think about what is around you and then invite her to join you.
Have fun!



answers from Sacramento on

Most communities have a recreational program with short term activities. I would look to see what's offered there that you can get your daughter into. Enroll her in a four to six week activity and let her try out being in activities that way. It may be that she'll decide on a longer term doing something after being exposed in this way. Or... she might just prefer to continue doing different things for short terms. Either way, I would suggest that you enroll her in no more than one activity at a time.
You can also look for one day free or low cost activities in the community. Some of those will be found in the community recreational catalog that you most likely receive several times a year. Others are available through various businesses. I know that Michael's Stores have one day craft activities. Lowe's and Home Depot also have occasional one day classes where they teach the kids to build a small item. Any of these would get her out among other children and expose her to some different activities. Be on the lookout for things of this nature that you think she might like and give her the opportunity to check out different things that are available.



answers from San Francisco on

I too was a shy kid and said no to everything. I wish my parents had pushed me to stick with an activity long enough to get past the awkwardness. I say give her a push (make sure it's something she'll have at least one friend in) and if after a couple of months she still hates it, then back off. And explain to her your childhood experience. She's old enough to appreciate your perspective and memories from when you were her age.



answers from San Francisco on

yes, insist she choose. you are the parent and you know the benefits of after school activities. give her a time limit and tell her if she doesn't choose by ____ you'll assign her ____. then if she just "can't" choose she'll make peace during that time with what you have laid out for her.

good luck mama!

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