Littleman is such a good big brother and is always willing to help us out with the baby. Now that he’s three years old, we feel that it’s important for him to get involved in some activities of his own. We certainly don’t want to over-schedule him – we see how busy some kids are and we don’t want to fill up all of his free time – but we want him to experience some group activities outside of our home.
This week he started swimming lessons. We’ve taken swimming lessons since he was a baby, but this is the first time he’s doing it on his own, without a parent in the water with him. There were a few tears when the instructor first called his name, but then he calmed down and was a really good boy.
Swimming is the one activity that will not be optional for our children. We feel that it’s a skill that is extremely important for them to learn. It is especially important because we have a pool at our family farm. I was a swimming instructor and a lifeguard when I was teenager and it was a great job. Learning swimming and water safety skills will help ensure that they are safe around the water and will also give them an option for summer jobs when they get older.
Other than that, we plan to let our kids choose what they like to do (within reason). As children, my sister and I took piano lessons. It was something that my mom always wanted to do but never had the opportunity when she was a child. Her heart was in the right place when she introduced us to the piano, but it just never worked for me. I wasn’t good at it, it didn’t come naturally to me and I hated it. My mom pushed me to stick with it (i.e. forbid me to quit) and, when I finally quit at 16-years-old, we had a pretty good blow-out over it. Twenty years later, I’ve never touched the piano again and I don’t regret quitting at all.
Littleman is a pretty shy kid, so I think group activities will be challenging for him at first. But I also think it is important for him to get exposure to different activities and have a chance to be active. He’s comfortable at daycare now because he knows everyone, but I know he’ll have some trouble adjusting to doing activities with strangers. In a few weeks, he’ll start t-ball and soccer. We decided to sign him up for the “parent and child” version so that he can get used to playing in a team environment with one of us with him. Hopefully that will help make him a bit more comfortable and, as he gets older, he’ll be willing to try some sports on his own.
Whatever he ends up doing, we’ll try our best to keep some balance in his life so he doesn’t end up with his time being completely filled with programs and activities. D and I both grew up spending lots of time playing outside and it’s important to us that our kids get to do that too.