I was recently asked about why James took part in so many after school clubs and it got me thinking. As I write this post James currently belongs to 3 after school clubs having recently dropped swimming lessons to concentrate on swimming club. When I was asked the question the person insinuated that perhaps it was me who was "pushing" James to attend these groups and I can't lie I felt a little bit offended and upset.
James attends a Beaver scouts group, an after school football club and belongs to our local swimming club all of which have been his choice to join.
I have to admit that to begin with swimming lessons were something I suggested, for me having my children know how to swim has always been important. Swimming is something that could one day save his life and so I felt it important he could at least get himself out of danger if he needed too. However since joining he has loved it and has continually asked to go even after learning the basics. Now he has moved on to a swimming club (giving up lessons in the process) which again has been his choice, we gave him the options and this was his decision.
Both Beavers and Football are clubs he has approached me to attend, which I have obliged too as they seemed to be things he had a genuine interest in. I personally don't feel that I push him in to doing any clubs and I am always asking him if he wants to continue when payment comes around for each club and he always answers yes (very enthusiastically!), eagerly anticipating the next class, group and adventure.
Of course I am thrilled that he wants to take part in these clubs, although my bank balance maybe not so much!. I feel like being a part of these clubs are giving him experiences and opportunities I feel I would be unable to give him. It gives him the chance to get involved and to form friendships with people he may otherwise not have met.
Beaver Scouts for example, he recently went on a camping sleepover with his Beavers group, they slept in tents and had hot chocolate around a campfire. James adored being able to enjoy this with a group of kids his own age and the independence that being away from mum and dad enjoying it all gave him. It gave him some independence and I know he felt a bit of freedom having all this fun away from me and his dad. Time for him to be independent, find his own little personality and use some of the tools we have parents have hopefully instilled in him for moments just like this.
So to that mum who thinks I push my child in to attending groups, have you ever tried to "force" a very strong willed 7 year old to do something they don't want? No? Well its pretty much impossible!
James takes part in these clubs because he wants to, he enjoys them and if/when he decided any of these clubs are not for him then I (and my purse!) will be more than happy for him to choose to leave at a time that he decides. I am very sorry if my son gaining experiences and opportunities that we are lucky enough to have access too offends you but these are his choices and as his mum I will respect these.
Do your kids belong to any after school clubs or groups?