Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pushing Extra-curriculars

My kid likes his routine. He spends his free time in the morning and evening watching TV and playing either on the computer or his DS. He loves playing driving games and games where the good guys shoot the bad robots/tanks/aliens. I adhere to the ratings, so he doesn't shoot people (this may be a rather fine distinction if you are against shooting games...).

My beef (beeves?) with the video games are that they don't require any interaction with other people (at his level, anyway), and that the type of problem solving skills they foster involved force over negotiation. There aren't many good woman/girl role models either.

I want more for him. I want him to develop some other interests, like music, art, or a sport.

The other day a friend posted pictures on Facebook of her son's piano recital. Her son also does karate (or some kind of martial art). Another friend's two kids have done target shooting and swimming (respectively) for years. Yet another friend has a fishy daughter who has taken really well to synchronized swimming. The list goes on and on. Most kids have something they "do" outside of school.

This made me feel like I'm not doing enough for my kid. I sure as hell don't want to push him, or force him to be so driven that he ends up smoking dope in the bathroom at school, but I also want him to know what it's like to do something that requires practice, and that he would get better at over time, AND that he enjoys.

For the time being, I'm trying to introduce him to things, but it's hard. It often requires signing him up for a class. Our city has a great recreation department, and the spring classes open up for registration next week in a huge mad rush with lots of rabid moms vying for spots. Or so it seems to me, anyway. In the meantime, I have signed him up for a "growing stuff" after school thing at our local horticulture gardens that meets every other week for a couple of months.

The plant class is so much me wanting him to like gardening, that I can almost guarantee he'll be lukewarm on it at best.

This brings up a good point - should the thing he "does" come from him, or me (or his dad)? If it were entirely up to him, he'd stick with the program of TV and video games. He doesn't particularly WANT to try new things.

Stay tuned. I'm going to see what the spring offerings are, and go from there.

And don't get me started on how most summer "camps" go from 9am-3pm. What about us working stiffs?


  1. I would say, consider "forcing" him to try new things with the understanding that if he really hates it (after giving it a fair trial) he can stop. Go through the catalog of classes with him each time it comes, and talk about what is there. Some times you don't even realize you are interested in something until you try. Best case he finds a new passion, worst case he maybe makes a new friend, or at the very least spends time with other kids in a new environment.

  2. Yes! I totally agree. He'll nix something that he knows nothing about, and so needs some gentle pushing sometimes. We're signing him up for one week of "art camp", the twice a month gardening class, and are looking into guitar lessons. Here's to well-rounded children!

  3. Wow, I got an anonymous mention in your blog. Cool!

    My thoughts are that you could require him to do ONE (or two if you want)class/activity that is not electronic entertainment-related. He gets to pick (within reason). That makes him have to think about what he would like and possibly try new stuff to find something he would like.

    Our guy would just as soon do DS or computer games too. He just has the schedule of stuff that he likes (while and after doing it - NOT when he has to stop playing DS to go), and he doesn't get the option of skipping out because he doesn't feel like it at the time.


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.