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STANLEYWIM
STANLEYWIM asks:
Q:

TOO MANY EXTRA CLASSES AFTER SCHOOL FOR MY GRANDSON (8YEARS). I THINK NOT ENOUGH REST FOR HIM BUT MOTHER THINKS ITS GOOD TRAINING. PLEASE ADVISE.

AS I THINK HE WILL GET SICK OF STUDIES WHEN HE GET OLDER AND  SMALL CHILDREN SHOULD HAVE MORE  REST AND PLAY TIME. 8 YEAR OLD CHILD HAS ENOUGH  TIME TO BE SO SERIOUS IN STUDIES . HE SAYS PRIVATELY TOO MUCH WORK BUT IS AFRAID TO GO AGAINST MOTHER . PLS ADVICE  AS MY DAUGHTER THINKS I AM OLD FASHIONED AND NOW THERE IS NO TIME TO REST AS WORLD IS SO COMPETITIVE AND IF MOLLYCODDLE MY GRANDSON IS THE  ONE WHO WILL SUFFER. PLS ADVICE
In Topics: Helping my child with school work and home work, My child's grandparent(s)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Candace_Lindemann
Jun 21, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

First, I think it is wonderful that you are so interested and involved in your grandson's education.

This is a difficult question because I sympathize entirely with your opinion that children today are, in general, over-scheduled and need more time to "just be kids."

Ultimately, however, you are unlikely to change anything by opposing your daughter's wishes.  In any parenting discussion, consider how you can best maintain a healthy relationship with your daughter and your grandson.  Your role now is a supporting one.

I do not know the particulars of your grandson's life and his schedule.  So, without "taking sides," here is some information and suggestions you may find useful:

Try to approach the idea of play, downtime, and physical activity in the framework your daughter has established.  That is to say, emphasize the cognitive benefits of play.  After all, the Ancient Greeks and Romans knew the importance of a sound body to a sound mind--and they were no slouches in the intellectual department!

Play helps children process what they have learned, improves verbal communication, and extends concentration and focus. Play also encourages empathy and other social skills.  As children play, they learn without even trying.

Your daughter may be concerned that unstructured time will be "wasted." And with the temptation of video games and constant children's television programing, that is a valid concern.  Active play, however, is never time wasted in my opinion.

She may be open to the ideas in the books "Unplugged Play" or "The Dangerous Book for Boys," both excellent resources for active play that stretches both body and mind.

Be prepared, however, that she may not be interested in discussing the topic further.  In which case, you must respect her wishes as the mother.

At this point, your role is to encourage your grandson to express his own opinions in a constructive and healthy way.  Without challenging his mother, he can still communicate his need for some time to relax.  He can develop his own plan for how he can productively use his after school time.

If you live nearby, you should also volunteer to spend time with your grandson after school at least once a week.  And when he is with you, you can encourage the type of play you believe young children need.

---
Candace Lindemann, Ed.M. - JustAsk Expert
Educational Consultant and Writer
http://CandaceLindemann.com
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Additional Answers (3)

kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hello! Your grandson is lucky to have such a caring grandma in his life. As tricky as this situation is, I think it's in the "good problem to have" category. Some kids go through life without anyone really caring about them and here your grandson has at least two people who clearly want what's best for him.

We have an information center all about extracurricular activities and it includes a great article (posted below) to help caregivers evaluate how much is too much when it comes to extracurricular activities. It really depends on the child and how much they can handle. You're right that kids need "free time" to rest and use their imaginations but your daughter's also right that extracurricular activities can be really beneficial to kids. So the trick is to figure out how much is the right amount. If your grandson is feeling stressed and sad about the amount of time he spends in these activities, then that may be an indicator that he's overloaded.

So, how can you handle your difference of opinion with your daughter? Very carefully! Perhaps you could share some of these articles in a conversation with your daughter. Try not to accuse or attack. You might start by saying "I really know you love your son and I really believe you're doing what you think is best for him. But I have some concerns about the amount of time he's spending in extracurricular activities based on some conversations I've had with him." You don't need to "tell" on him or break his confidence in you, you can just share that he's expressed feeling a little overwhelmed.

In the end, your daughter is his mother and there's not much you can - or should - do to go against her wishes here. But one thing you can do is try to give him that restful free time when he's with you!

Congrats again on being a great grandmother!
Kat

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SMPTUE
SMPTUE writes:
I mean no disrespect because you obviously love your grandson, but he is not your child.  He is your daughter's child and only she and his father (if he is in the picture) have the right to say what classes and how many he takes.  By getting involved you are making your daughter resentful, confusing your grandson, and presenting marital problems by being the "trouble making mother-in-law."

One thing you should realize is that 8 is not a small child.  He is one year away from being a pre-teen.  

You don't state exactly what extra work is asked of him. What are the extra classes?  Perhaps these are relevant to today's world and your daughter feels you cannot understand that because you are from a different time. I understand the frustration of the world being too fast sometimes, but this mentality will not help your son achieve the life skills he will need to survive when he gets out of high school.

If he comes to you again, tell him to speak to his school councilor or his teacher.  This way, if you have a valid concern, it will be handled by someone your daughter won't feel is meddling and your son will get to have his say through an unbiased third party.

I hope I haven't sounded rude or cruel because I am so grateful of such a concerned and involved grandparent.  Too many family members silently watch children being neglected or abused in some way while saying nothing.  Your grandson confided in you and you immediately stood up for his rights.  Good for you!!!  Please don't stop.  My advice here is merely to help make this situation easier for you and for him and keep the peace in your family.  In no way am I criticizing you because you are an awesome grandparent! :)
> 60 days ago

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STANLEYWIM
STANLEYWIM writes:
Thanks for the answers and much appreciated meantime  I am not a grandmother but a grand father. I think  what i said was  not clear because  even the  teachers agree with me that for  small children the school time is enough and if you add  other classes throughout the week  it is depriving a child of his play and rest time which is also as important for his mental growth. The competitve exams come  when they are  much older and  upto years they should be allowed more play and free time.
> 60 days ago

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