I often find myself wondering how much is too much when it comes to activities for my son. This fall he has school, piano and soccer, plus two long afternoons at school for activities (one is mine, so he goes to aftercare and the other is one we do together). I realized how busy we are right now when I thought about trying to schedule an afternoon doctor or dentist appointment! There are few days we could fit that in with our other commitments, at least for the next few weeks until soccer ends. Evenings for young children are very short. He starts preparing for bed between 7:15 and 7:30, so when you squeeze in homework, piano practice, and dinner, some days there isn't much time for play - especially if there is a soccer practice or some other unusual activity. But the activities we have chosen are in the schedule for a reason. And we stand by those reasons.
One day as my husband was relaying this all to a friend as they talked about scouting, my husband said something profound that I wrote down so I wouldn't forget it:
"It is much easier to add programming for a bored child than it is to break commitments."
That is so true! And our son is NOT bored. But once we start something, it is painful to break the commitment. We thought about changing from piano to drums this year, in mid year, and those conversations with his piano teacher were painful. She came up with enough things to excite him to stick with it until May, but practicing is still a chore. It isn't something he looks forward to or is eager to do. [Drums on the other hand are often the first things he runs to when he is finally "free" to do whatever he wants!]
We are still learning to find the right amount of activity and rest. My husband's declaration will help us keep perspective.