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Activity-Free Fall???


I’ve always said I’d only have the girls in one activity at a time. That’s all I can handle in terms of $$$ and time/sanity since I can’t be driving all over town to different activities every night of the week.

Right now, I’m lucky that the girls have the same general interests and are still in the “discovery” phase with most activities, so they’ve stuck together and always done the same activity, too. They’re just learning about different activities, rather than really honing skills and developing in a single activity area.

Over the summer, the “activity” was swimming. They’ve done swim lessons for 3 summers in a row now, and I’m glad to say they’re FINALLY really swimming! Wooo!

Swim lessons wrapped up at the end of August and with the move in early September and everything that has occurred since then, I haven’t looked into any additional activities.

Today, I was looking at budgets, numbers, etc. and had the thought occur…..what if we have an activity-free Fall?

It would certainly save us money AND help with the craziness of the transition from two-parent home to one-parent home. It’s been a big transition for us all and taking this one extra thing off my plate would be a nice respite from the craze that one-night-a-week when I’d otherwise have to deal with Fill-In-The-Blank kids’ activity.

But then just almost as soon as the thought occurred, the mom-guilt started setting in. Or maybe it was just more of a question nagging at my heart rather than full on “guilt”??? But I just basically asked myself, “is it selfish to take away the one, single kids’ activity that the girls have to do outside of regular school-stuff right now?? Would it be better for them to continue on with some activity???”

To be clear, I did not remove them from anything in haste. We’d planned in advance to be done with swim at the end of summer so the end of swim lessons just happened to co-incide with my move. But I’d also intended to get the girls involved in some type of activity this Fall (t-ball? music?), and I haven’t set anything up yet.

On one hand, I don’t think taking a couple months off of activities is going to kill anyone or be the worst thing in the world. But I wonder if having something (anything?) just for them that’s a fun extra-curricular is important at this time of change and upheaval? Would it be a nice outlet for them?

Even if we do try to stay activity-free through Fall, I don’t want that to become a long-term thing. The girls are still young and just learning about different activities. They’ve never had any formal music lessons and just barely began with team sports last spring (only doing one single 5-week long soccer camp, 1 night per week for 5 weeks, so literally only 5 times). At their age – almost 6.5 – I really want to continue exposing them to different activities so they can start developing their interests in the coming years. In particular, I think it’s important for them to have some formal music training education and team sports participation (though….not at the same time?!?)

What are your thought? Would Activity-Free Fall be a nice way to save a few bucks for the family OR is the benefit to the kids (especially during this transitional time) worth more than the cost? 


  • Reply Laura |

    You aren’t pulling them out of anything, you just aren’t signing them up for anything. Will they even notice? Yes, take a break. It won’t hurt them, and you need the extra time and money now.

  • Reply Joanna |

    Take a break, find your new routine. Let them pick an activity that starts in January. The holidays are coming up and will be busy anyway.

  • Reply Kate |

    Totally agree, and try not to feel guilty. Kids need downtime to play as much as structured activities.

  • Reply Ann |

    I think an activity-free time would be a gift to them. They are so young and won’t miss it. And having free evenings with extra time for reading and talking and playing with mom would be especially helpful during this transition time.
    Please don’t feel guilty about it.

    PS My son was 11 before he was in a team sport, and it didn’t hurt him at all. He was a starter for varsity basketball in high school.

  • Reply Kacy |

    Have you looked into an activity for you that also has your kids apart of too? We have a moms group where I live that has high schoolers doing crafty stuff with the kids while the moms have time to talk. It’s one night a week that I get guilt free me time while my kids are happily making something. It also gives me my village to go to if I need help. I now have my babysitting buddy from that group. We trade off on babysitting when either of us has appointments or work late or just want to have a few hours to ourselves. Plus she works early and I work later. So she drops off her kids at my place in the morning until the bus gets here and she helps do daycare and after school pickup on nights that I have to work later. Maybe for a few months it can be a more informal activity for your kids that they’ll still love but will give you a chance to find your balance.

  • Reply Walnut |

    What if instead of a formal activity you instead did something fun together just the three of you one night a week? Let the girls give suggestions. Maybe it’s an evening trip to the pool or “camping” in your living room with sleeping bags and camping style food? A weekly trip to a new playground where you also extend an invite to their friends for a low key meetup?

    • Reply Jessica |

      This is a great idea! There are so many free things to be done – library, walks, crafts, etc. And there are holidays coming up you can center your activities around – carving pumpkins, baking, etc. Your girls will just be happy to spend time with you and I think keeping the next months as simple as possible will be best for all of you

      • Reply Sarah |

        Great idea. You don’t have to have an arranged activity out of the house. You could even have a friend or two over once a week to do some activity.

        I used to fret over activities. I worked and couldn’t do all the activities that our kids’ friends got to do. Our kids are now 23 and 20 and they are fine.

  • Reply Taryn |

    Ours are 5 and 2 and have not been in any paid activity since baby swim class for the first. We’re focused on paying off debts and I just can’t stomach the money and time for littles to explore. We do activities as a family on weekends – outdoor things, science activities, festivals and free local events. I only feel somewhat guilty that my kids have yet to take any swim classes, because I do think swimming is an important skill that can be started young. So, in my opinion, you have no need for guilt for taking a break and finding a new normal. The girls may need it in their own way, too.

  • Reply SCM1959 |

    As the mother of a 7 year old who has scouts on Mondays, Martial Arts on Tuesdays/Thursdays and Church on Wednesdays, I say … don’t sign them up for anything this fall! Take a break while you can!

    Instead, pick a night each week to do something fun, like have a picnic at a playground and just let the girls run and jump. I am a big believer in free, non-directed play and in spite of our activities, I make sure my son gets to just run around every single day. I think all children need to be able to do this. I bet you will run into other families and children at the playground and it may even be that the same families will show up often.

    Just have fun and forget about places were you have to arrive and leave at a certain time.


  • Reply Anon |

    Take a break or look for free stuff: our library has some cool kids programming beyond just “story time.” Our county parks and rec department also has super cheap stuff: like 6 week classes for $12 or something if you are really torn about it.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    I think these ladies all have great ideas. The only thing my kids had to do was swimming because I can’t. We did one activity each because that was what we could afford. Don’t let guilt drive you crazy. You seem like a great Mom, your kids just want you.

  • Reply Christopher |

    Your children have plenty of time for
    organized activities.

    I was overly involved, but one of my happiest memories as a child was having dinner and playing cards with my grandfather once a week.

    I’m sure you’ll find a great activity to regularly do and maybe it will become a lifeline activity.

  • Reply Lizzy |

    I would take a break and focus on family time and play dates. The only exception might be if there school offers an after school activity they might like

So, what do you think ?