• Kids / Lifestyle

    Why My Kids Aren’t In Any Sports This Summer and Why I’m OK With That

    why my kids aren't in sports this summer and why i'm ok with that

    Soccer, Baseball, T-Ball, Football, Rugby, Track and Field, Swimming, Gymnastics, Dance, Ballet, Skating, Volleyball, and the list goes on. That is just for sports and recreation. Then we have arts. You have every single instrument out there as well as traditional art classes. Now what about summer camps? Can’t forget those. Add in some church events (if you are part of your local church community), free community events and don’t forget your family holidays. Before you know it, your entire summer is spoken for and it hasn’t even begun.

    The lists of activities that are available for our children nowadays are endless. It’s one thing to have countless possibilities and it’s another to actually have your child a part of 10 different activities a week. I think it’s safe to say we all know people who fit this bill pretty accurately, right? 

    why my kids aren't in sports this summer and why i'm ok with that

    Personally, I don’t feel the pressure to have my kids in a million activities…until I go on social media. That is where the inadequacy starts to creep in. I feel like my children are well versed and have loads of opportunities to be a part of various activities. However, as soon as I start scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, I instantly feel it. I tense up and a mild form of panic starts to set in. 

    “Well so-and-so has their kid in baseball, swimming, three day camps and visits every splash pad in the city on a regular rotation.” I immediately start googling last minute registrations for day camps, hoping I am not too late. Darn it, I am. I guess my kids will just have to suffer through this boring summer season playing at the regular park down the street and blowing bubbles in the backyard. 

    STOP. This is ridiculous. Do you see how this happens? If you are honest with yourself, I bet this has happened to you. You feel perfectly adequate with the choices you’ve made for your children until you see what your friend is doing with theirs and suddenly, you don’t measure up.

    After looking at our busy summer calendar this summer, I knew that it was going to be sheer lunacy to register my kids for any kind of sport. Last summer, I had the two oldest in soccer. Worst decision of my life. Ok, maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but do you get the effect?

    Let me tell you, I dreaded soccer nights. The kids are one year apart and because of that, they had to be on two different teams, therefore, that meant two different nights out. Soccer started at 6:30pm and it was on the complete opposite side of the city. By the time my hubby would get home from work, we would inhale our dinner and be rushing out the door to make it on time.

    This is probably a good time to remind everyone that my kids were three and four years old last summer. I had initially thought that maybe they were too young, but after cruising my Facebook feed, I was reassured by many of my friends who were enrolling their kids into soccer, that mine were not too young. In fact, they were a year behind in the soccer leagues.  

    Let me just get to the point and tell it like it is: three year olds should NOT be playing soccer. Really, it shouldn’t even be called soccer for anyone under the age of five. What happened on those fields last summer as I sat on the sidelines and watched was anything BUT soccer. It was organized chaos. Scratch that, it was just chaos. Half the time my child, along with many others, wouldn’t even stay on the field unless one of the parents came to stand with them. The most common question was “when is snack time?” That IS the only reason my three year old would go. My daughter preferred making “grass angels” and picking flowers rather than trying to get the ball into the net. 

    I had to miss out on other more exciting events last summer that happened to fall on one of those two soccer nights because I refused to just quit halfway through the season. Even though every fibre of my being told me to do so, on principle, I would show my kids that once you commit to something, you stick with it. So we continued on, all eventually hating it, just to prove that we weren’t quitters. 

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    So it’s not hard to conclude that when I got the 2015 summer season registration email, that it didn’t even get opened and swiftly went into the trash. 

    What is it with my generation of parents that think we have to get our kids involved in everything under the sun when they are barely out of the womb? They have the rest of their lives to play all kinds of sports and learn all kinds of instruments and paint all kinds of pictures. They are only this young once. Why do we feel this pressure to shove them into any and every activity and recreation available just because we think they are going to miss out. Let me tell you this, THEY AREN’T!

    Listen, I’m not here to condemn all sports and activities for kids. And if you sat on the sidelines of your three year olds soccer game last night, that’s ok too. All I want to say is that at the end of the day, you need to decide what is right for your family. Don’t let social media dictate what activities your kids should or shouldn’t be doing. Make a choice for what works for your children and your families schedule. 

    And at the end of the day, if you choose to just sit this summer out and enjoy long nights at the beach instead of bribing your three year old with snacks to kick that ball into the net, know that they will be just fine. In fact, you all might be better off as a family for it. Enjoy that quality time and I’ll see you at that beach!

    Love & Blessings,

    CMartin-Sign

     

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    66 Comments

  • Reply Jasmine June 17, 2015 at 8:59 am

    My oldest was in t-ball from beginning of May until last week thursday which I love because he’s only 6 and they only play like 15 games during that time. Now he’s able to enjoy his summer. But next year will be busy for me because both my boys will be playing baseball. lol

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:19 am

      That’s nice that it’s earlier in the season for you. For us here in Canada, I think it goes later into the summer because it isn’t warm enough until mid-May-early June

  • Reply jessica June 17, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Oh Christine! We are more alike than you even know. I feel the pressure of extracurricular activities and this is a HOT topic in my home. The past years my daughter did Tennis and dance and the schedules for those were awful and ran into their bedtime. Most of my friends and almost all of my family members with children have their kids in soccer,baseball, volleyball, and the list goes on… and they assume that since my husband is collegiate strength coach and deals with sports that my kids should be in something. Not going to happen. I told myself that I want to make memories and do stuff with my kids since they are growing so fast. They have all of middle school and high school to do sports, dance, etc if they choose…They will only be this little for this very short time. I rather take them to the park, go to the pool as a family, visit a chocolate factory or a museum during their summer break (which is only 4 weeks long) than pile on extracurricular activities that would certainly break my bank. Thanks for this post.

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Absolutely! Totally agree Jess. And how come their summer is only 4 weeks?! That’s crazy short! Ours is 8 weeks and even at that…it’s going to fly by! Totally taking time to enjoy them!

  • Reply Gina Smith June 17, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Summer is the time to give everyone a bit of a break anyways. There are tons of things the kids can do to get exercise without doing sports. Extracurricular activities can be fun but having them all year long could be overwhelming!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Absolutely! Enjoy the break Gina! xox

  • Reply Angelica June 17, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Mine aren’t either- and they won’t be. I refuse to feel guilty about it. They’re kids! They shouldn’t have hectic schedules like mini-adults. My girls are going to have a great, lazy summer and it’s going to be awesome. AND I don’t feel bad about it!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:22 am

      Good for you!!! Here’s to a lazy and relaxing summer! xox

  • Reply Brittany Bergman June 17, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Oh Christine, I love this so much. I already dread the endless activities that kids and parents can get sucked into and the pressure to have “well-rounded” kids in many activities — and my first isn’t even born yet! I love your healthy perspective on this. Thanks for being bold and sharing it!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:22 am

      My pleasure girl! Excited for you to welcome your first! xox

  • Reply Julie June 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

    OMG! You are a wise, young mother. My kids are 12, (almost) 11, and 6. I managed eight spring sports (mostly between the older two). My blog is basically an homage to the over-worked (by her kids) Mom. This summer, as we finish up Little League and competitive dance, each kid gets one thing. One chose a pricey fine arts camp, so she’s really restricted to one. The other two get one set of classes each. Ok, my dancer might have to take two in order to keep up with her team requirements. While in school, each kid gets one big commitment and 1-2 small commitment. That’s how we managed to keep it at 8 sports this spring. We started that rule just this past year, and it helped so much. Good luck as yours get older. Stay strong and focused!!!!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Ya it’s really crazy and I imagine that the older they get, more and more activities will demand their time. So I figure why not just enjoy them while they’re young. The have their jr high and high school years to be busy and be part of all those things. Glad to hear you’ve figured out a good balance! Enjoy your summer Julie! xox

  • Reply Camilla June 17, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Love your sense of humour embedded in this post (“grass angels”). Definitely refreshing to see you make your own family’s norms xo

  • Reply Charlotte June 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I don’t see any reason to sign my son up for something. He can have fun here with us, doing crafts, learning, and when the weathers right playing at the park or going to the pool. If he decides one day that he wants to do something I wont ever say no but I wont make that decision for him ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you so much for sharing your incite and story!!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Absolutely! Totally agree…let them ask/decide instead of us pushing them into things they don’t even really care about! xox

      • Reply Charlotte June 18, 2015 at 10:07 am

        Thank you for your reply! You are a great blogger! Cant wait to see more!!

        • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:02 pm

          Awe! Thank you Charlotte! My pleasure! xox

  • Reply Trisha @ The Ham & Cheese Of It June 17, 2015 at 10:22 am

    I agree!! I have an infant ( 8 months and counting) and all of my friends with infants her age are in baby zumba, rock n roll dance class, swim class and baby jam time. Like for real people my daughter just wants to snuggle, eat a vanilla gerber cookie and watch wall-e all day. I would be so exhausted running her to all those activities and well… broke because baby classes are stupid expensive. $80 for four classes on how to each an 8 month old how to swim!?!?! They can kiss my butt on that one!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:26 am

      LOL! This made me laugh Trisha! I TOTALLY hear you! I seriously did just about nothing when my kids were babies except the occasional FREE playgroup. I also didn’t have time or money to spend doing all of those things. It’s crazy what people are willing to spend their time and money on and really…does it REALLY benefit the baby that much?!

  • Reply Ashleigh June 17, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    I can relate to this on so many levels… I also kept my kids from sports this summer and at first was totally happy with my choice, then once I saw what all the kids were doing, felt inadequate; like I wasn’t being the mom I was suppose to be. I know this is not true but still, sometimes it’s hard knowing if the decisions I’m making for my kids are the right ones. Great post and thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:32 am

      It is hard…especially when everyone else makes it look like it’s a MUST for kids to do all those things. It really isn’t. Enjoy your summer Ashleigh! xox

  • Reply Dayne June 17, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Christine, I completely agree with you. Growing up, I was not into sports, but my parents forced me into summer basketball games, leagues, swimming lessons, etc. I dreaded going to games and practice, while I would rather have been signed up for art classes or guitar lessons. Each child is unique, so don’t feel panicked by cookie cutter parents how make decisions off of other parents’ decisions. Just focus on your child, anticipate their interests, then go from there.

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Absolutely! Totally agree Dayne! Thanks for stopping by and sharing! xox

  • Reply samantha ramos June 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    I just love this article! Good for you for refusing to let random people on Facebook guilt you into putting your kids into sports. The mom guilt sets in for me all the time. I haven’t signed my son up for any Summer activities this year and I’m not planning to. Us moms just have to stick with what is best for our family and forget what everyone else thinks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Absolutely! So well said! Enjoy your summer Samantha! xox

  • Reply Messy Mom June 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    “three year olds should NOT be playing soccer. Really, it shouldnโ€™t even be called soccer for anyone under the age of five.” That’s awesome. I totally agree with every bit of it.

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Right?! It’s crazy! Thanks for stopping by! xox

  • Reply Kelsey Ferguson June 17, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I love everything about this post. Ok, maybe not that you suffered through soccer last season but everything else. “You feel perfectly adequate with the choices youโ€™ve made for your children until you see what your friend is doing with theirs and suddenly, you donโ€™t measure up.” <- I struggle with this SO much. It's ridiculous.

    Thank you so much for this much needed kick in the butt! Our parenting choices are just that 'ours' and I need to stop comparing them to someone else's!

    Thanks, again! I hope you have a wonderful summer!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:30 am

      My pleasure Kelsey! This post is equally a good reminder for myself too to stop comparing! It’s SO easy when it’s always in your face! Enjoy your summer! xox

  • Reply annabelt - geeks diet June 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I agree – sports leagues can be so time consuming, with a couple of practice nights and a game each week. Worse still are the ones that aren’t even regular times! Mine are doing one week of soccer camp this year – all the same week and in the same place together ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Well that’s nice…also gives you a little break too! Enjoy!

  • Reply Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) June 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I LOVED this post. My kids aren’t doing any sports this summer. Just playdates and activities at the library. In our area, it’s common for kids to be in 3 sports and 2-3 additional activities, and it’s easy to feel left behind. I would rather my kids focus on 1-2 things they really enjoy. They can’t be good at EVERYTHING! I’m retweeting this!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Absolutely! Enjoy those playdates and your summer! And thanks for sharing! xox

  • Reply LiNdsay June 17, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Good for you! Ok you know your children best and exactly like you say, there will be plenty of opportunities and activities this summer that don’t involve outrageous fees or take up hours of nights driving to and fro.

    I think social media has that feeling of inadequacy on every level. I mean, even myself, I’m constantly comparing and I know I shouldn’t and can’t do that.

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:28 am

      It’s so true. It’s the love/hate relationship with social media. We want to know what others are doing but secretly it can make is feel so horrible!

  • Reply Helena June 17, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    You actually aren’t the first this year who has articulated these sentiments. I’m glad, because kids need more than constant classes, camps and clinics to fill their time!

  • Reply Chantal June 17, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Summer is filled with so many activities that it makes it very hard to ACTUALLY enjoy summer because many families are busy running from one activity to the next! Great post!

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Absolutely! Thanks for reading Chantal! xox

  • Reply Jaclyn June 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Ohhh I COMPLETELY relate to this! I am ALWAYS thinking about how it will be nearly impossible for my son to ever take part in evening activities. I enjoy the thought of groups and physical activity and it all sounds so wonderful…until you factor in the fact that I’d have to drive at the speed of lightning to make it doable. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Reply Christine June 18, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Right?! He will be just fine without them til he is older! xox

  • Reply Hannah June 18, 2015 at 10:24 am

    I completely agree! With my children growing older and knowing that they will be playing hockey/basketball in the fall/winter/spring season – I want to enjoy the summer. There are so many ways to keep them active and to use it as a family activity.

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Absolutely! Enjoy your summer together! xox

  • Reply Lauren White June 18, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Bravo mama. You brought up some wonderful points. My little one is almost 10-months and I’m already under pressure to enroll her in swim class, Gymboree, storytime at the library and the list goes on and on. I’m a working mama but I’m also a teacher so I am now off for the next two months. Before vacation began, I had high hopes of enrolling my daughter in Gymboree, getting a pass to Adventure Island, etc. Now that it’s summer, I legit just want to let her play inside and outside and call it a day!

    I know so many moms who have stuff written on EVERY day on their calendar and I just cannot be that mom. You’re right. Kids are only young once and they have all of elementary school, middle, and high school to play organized sports and do other activities.

    I applaud you for throwing out those registration forms. Enjoy being a mama! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      So much pressure with so much available, right?! And from almost day one too. It’s crazy. Enjoy your summer as well and thanks for stopping by! xox

  • Reply Ashley June 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Completley agree! I have 4 littles, 1-7 years old. And it’s crazy how crazy life gets when any of the kids are involved in one thing, let alone multiple! We try to keep it at 1 sport and 1 church activity. (But even I feel sad that some things, like piano lessons, have had to take a back seat because we don’t want to over-schedule). But this summer, we will be busy adventuring, so the dates won’t work for anything! We were sad at first, but now we are so excited for an unscheduled summer!

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      And I bet you guys will all have a BLAST! Enjoy Momma! xox

  • Reply Kate June 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for putting this post out there. I know how what other kids and parents are doing can add pressure to the decisions you make. Even when they are little. I hate to say it but I have to remind myself all the time that I don’t have to parent like everyone else on social media and that it is not a competition. Especially when it comes to hitting milestones. As mush as I get that all kids are different when I see other kids doing things I catch myself working extra with Ali to reach a milestone or feeling guilty that maybe I have not worked with her enough.

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      Ya, social media can be so hard when it comes to comparing, instead of inspiring. I totally hear ya on that. Know that you are doing a great job Momma! xox

  • Reply Jo-Anne June 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Well said. Happy you made this choice. Remember the days we spent around the parks, visiting with other moms and their kids/babysitting kids, swimming, going to Baba & Dido’s cottage in Rawdon??? We had no time for summer planned activities and yet our summers were always too short. Enjoy this time, visit friends, allow the kids to be creative, go to the water parks, to the zoo and visit us. Enjoy this time… before you know it … you’ll be sitting on a porch wondering about your kids/grandkids. Love you xoxo

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Ha! So true! Thanks mom! Can’t wait to spend more time with you guys! xox

  • Reply Stephanie @ Casa Watkins June 18, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Well done! I will say that I would do the same; however my husband is quite the sports fanatic. He says that playing a sport is a requirement of all our children. :\

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      As long as they love and it’s all in balance, I guess. Try and enjoy the summer still! xox

  • Reply Brooke Knipp June 18, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    AMEN. I think (and I’ve read a lot to back this up) that kids are WAY too scheduled nowadays, and it’s not to their benefit. I loved summer vacation for the freedom of it when I was a kid. I love that my kids (3 and 6) head out to the backyard right after breakfast every morning and spend most of their day out their doing whatever seems necessary to them to do. I’m sure you guys will have a fantastic kid-centered (vs. activity-centered) summer!

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Oh how I wish our kids could all play together, Brooke! Wouldn’t that just be grand?! Sending lots of love across the miles! xox

  • Reply Brea June 18, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    YES! I love your post! My son isn’t in sports either, and we’re having a blast without them!

  • Reply Jasmine June 19, 2015 at 3:24 am

    It is funny how social media can give us that feeling like we aren’t doing or being enough, we in fact we so are!

  • Reply Pam June 19, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I hear you! We have really tried to cut back on activities this past year! I feel like every week someone is telling me about an awesome camp, playgroup, art studio, etc for kids. I am trying to really focus on what my kids actually like and are interested in. Trying to keep the extra activities to a minimal! But the pressure is REAL!

    • Reply Christine June 30, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      The pressure is SO real Pam! Glad to hear you guys are cutting back! Now, when are WE getting together with the families?! xox

  • Reply pam July 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    YES! Glad to hear someone else shares my feelings. When my kids were younger I felt the pressure to enroll in as much as possible. My husband works nights so it was all on me. The times for these things seemed late for the kids and by the time we got home, wound down and ready for bed it was late for their age. They got burned out and so did I. Now at 10 and 12 we have homework and down time and not scheduled time. I have friends whose kids are in a lot but it seems to me they would rather rush from home to class to bed so that they don’t have to be the ones to entertain their kids. I had a lot of problems having my kids and I enjoy them ( most of the time lol). I didn’t have then to ship them off to this and that. Hanging out riding bikes or running around with the dog gets them exercise and fun together.

    • Reply Christine July 2, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Absolutely…it’s all about balance. I think as they get older, I will let my kids choose something they would like to be a apart of, but again, it will be in balance. We have three, so they all need a chance at one thing without having us out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!

  • Reply Megan July 1, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Ugh! I tried my three year old in soccer- now I have a six year old who hates it. Worst mistake ever. Should have waited! Other than a few camps, there are no regular activities in this house. I have activity burn out by May and count down each one as it ends with glee!

    • Reply Christine July 2, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Wow. That’s some great insight Megan. I never thought about it from that perspective of putting them into something too early and then them hating it. I hope she’s found something else that she can enjoy, whether that’s organized sport or not! xox

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