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dgraab
dgraab , Parent asks:
Q:

How many extracurricular activities are too many for a second grader?

Our daughter is 7 and in second grade. She's currently enrolled in Tae Kwon Do (1 hour, 2-3 times per week), children's acting classes (2 hours once a week for three months), and violin lessons (1/2 hour once a week). She's doing well academically, so having these extracurricular activities hasn't cut into her homework time, or negatively affected her academic learning. She hasn't experienced any negative health effects either (no complaining about being tired, no extra irritability, etc.).

However, she's recently been invited to also participate in Balinese dancing (1-3 hours, one day per week), and she's interested in adding soccer (1-2 hours once a week) too. I've initially said no to adding either or both of these new activities to her schedule, because I fear that would put us over the top on the extracurricular activities.

What do you think? What's a reasonable amount of time for a second grader to spend each week doing non-academic activities?
In Topics: Outside the classroom
> 60 days ago

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Expert

MomSOS
Oct 3, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

This is a great question, but does not have a pat answer in terms of quantity.
However, let's take a look at the answer in terms of quality-- quality of the balance in your daughter's life. Each child is unique and will handle the pressure or stress of extra curricular activities in individual ways. From your description, I would say that at this time your daughter appears to be managing both her academic and non-academic activities comfortably.

You have done a great job in examining several key factors that can inform you as a parent. You have assessed her homework completion, current learning capacity, health effects, irritability, and complaining. In the interest of balance, I would encourage you to also assess the time she has available to be quiet, to play, to be with friends in unstructured situations, and to spend quality time with you and other family members.

Your daughter sounds like an active and interested-in-life youngster.  How terrific. However, if your intuition is telling you that adding more to her plate might tip the scale, listen. Parent intuition never goes out of fashion! If you decide to limit the activities and she is disappointed, you can point out that there will be times in the future to do the other things that  she is drawn to doing. You might even make a long-term plan for how to build in her other interests.

In summary, use what you know about your child's personality, and the way she is handling her current extra-curricular schedule. Continue to assess other needs she may have, such as need for quiet/down time, family time, play time etc.  Add your intuitive wisdom to the mix, and you will be on your way to knowing what is a reasonable amount of time for your 7 yr old daughter to spend each week doing non-academic activities.

Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
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Karenmom
Feb 9, 2011
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Sounds like you are all very busy.  That is a lot of extra "running" to do, I'm surprised Mom & Dad are not tired.  I think it's great that you've allowed your daughter so many opportunities and I'm certain that this has not effected her negatively or she would not want to continue to add even more.  However, I think that there should be a limit and I believe you have reached it.  It looks like the acting classes will end shortly and maybe then you can add something to replace it, that's the good thing about these 3 month activities, they end soon enough to change to something else unlike the classes that continue year round.  Have fun with your social butterfly!  Best wishes!

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Additional Answers (3)

debbiedo1
debbiedo1 writes:
Wow,when do you have one on one time with her? When does she unwind? How do you feel about her gone all the time? She is only little for a very short time. All these activities can't replace time with you and the family. How else is she going to learn how to be comfortable with alone time if she is never alone?
> 60 days ago

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dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi DebbieDo1,

Thanks for your concern. While I am currently a full-time working mom with a time-intensive commute, I do spend about 2-3 hours every weeknight with our daughter helping her do her homework, hearing about her day, feeding her and doing our bedtime ritual. On weekends, we have a lot of quality family time together also. As an only child, she has plenty of alone playtime as well, though she much prefers when her friends come over to play or when we go to visit them. And her father accompanies her on the extracurricular activities I referenced, providing on-site morale support. So, while she does have a busy schedule, we are still involved in her life and she does have some downtime and alone time.

Thanks for asking!
> 60 days ago

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New'New
New'New , Student writes:
I agree with the Expert that is a Great Idea!
> 60 days ago

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