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How Many Activities Is Too Many for a Preschooler?

There’s something about that magical age of 3 when your kids can run off and participate in a sport or activity without you having to be there. Lately I’ve started to take advantage of this opportunity in signing my daughter up for several classes, from swimming to dance.

Currently my daughter is taking gymnastics twice a week and dance twice a week. We also take a Zumba class together once a week. She just turned 4, and if she were a little older I’d also have her in piano lessons. At some point I probably need to scale back on these classes.

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I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care if our kids are good at an extracurricular activity. And I know I’m not alone. While I’m busy researching dance teachers, my husband is already teaching our 1-year-old how to do pull-ups and setting him up for deadlifts.

“He could be really good at Crossfit,” my husband tells me. “Or a college football player.”

I’m sure we aren’t the only parents who hope our kids are talented, I’d bet most parents think along these lines. But when is it too much?

I want my kids to find something they’re passionate about. Even if it has nothing to do with sports. Growing up I tried everything under the sun from Girl Scouts to cheerleading and color guard. But in the fifth grade when I got to announce the Super Star winners over the intercom at school, I knew I wanted to be a broadcaster. Everything else was fun, but I had found my passion. I loved bringing stories and information to people, and that hasn’t changed since.

I decided to start asking her what she wants to do when we have down time.

Does everyone have a passion? I’m not sure. For people who tell me they don’t, I wonder if it’s just that they haven’t sparked it yet. But it’s there, hiding dormant deep within.

Others seem to be overflowing with interests and talents, and it almost doesn’t seem fair.

So how do we handle this with our kids? How can we help them find their interests without breaking the bank and driving ourselves into the ground chauffeuring them all over town? How many activities are too many for a preschooler?

As I’ve asked myself these questions I’ve started to discover simple answers in the things we do together. I decided to start asking her what she wants to do when we have down time. Does she want to play outside, color, or paint? Sing a song, or dance to YouTube Zumba routines?

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Maybe we’ll discover her passions together at home, instead of in a structured group. Maybe some day she’ll be a concert pianist or a college basketball player, but for now, I’m going to go at her pace, and let her have fun being 4.

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