Is this too much?

OMGOSH!

Paiseh paiseh. Damn paiseh cos I have not written in such a looooong time. Not here. Not on Dayre (which is still a sore spot for me). I have been updating more on IG stories although also not much la. Some people have asked if I have stopped writing altogether or if I am still writing anywhere else. The truth is, I’ve kinda lost my mojo to write and update ever.

But hor…I keep having topics pop up in my head that I wanna write about. I am still owing the one on my Tokyo shopping loot (hahaha if can camp by topic I think that would be a hot fav), and review of my new car seats and double stroller. And a whole host of other topics that come to mind here and there.

But today, I wanna blog about a topic that stemmed from a recent blogpost by fourfeetnine. I’ll link it here, but essentially, she was asked about whether Fighter has a Chinese tutor and her response, and what she felt about her kids attending classes and how they learn.

This one hits home for me because well, my kids attend A LOT of classes. More specifically, EB goes for a lot of classes outside schooltime. Technically, I would sign ED up for them if he was of age but most of them require the child to be at least 3. I once counted the number of classes we do in a week and it came to…*drumroll*…

10!

I know what you are thinking.

“That is more than one class a day!!!” 😱😱

What do they have?

There’s ballet.

Martial arts – Lil Ninjas class.

Pony riding.

Golf.

They also go for swimming lessons together.

Both kids are also still doing Kindermusik (they started at 3mo), but EB is also taking private piano lessons.

ED does MyGym as well as a Chinese playgroup (PlayClub) which is parent-accompanied as well.

That is…A LOT. And I know it, because I have the great honour and task of bringing them for their classes, save for two which happens on Saturday and D brings EB for those two.

The only “free” day we have every week is Friday, and Sunday is saved for church or family day.

Isn’t it tiring?

For me? Yes! Cos I have to ferry them around with all our barangs.

For the kids, especially EB? I think not. In the first place, most of these classes are reeeeally short. From 20mins – 45mins. And the venues are in similar areas/same building, so there are days we do back-to-back classes if they are not too tiring for the kids. ED gets two longer classes – MyGym (1 hour) and PlayClub (2 hours) but these are good for him to understand routines and structure. Plus they are parent-accompanied. They also usually get to nap before or after class, depending on the schedule. And we’ve got it down pretty well that they usually wouldn’t fight naps either.

But MOST important of all, the kids reeeeally enjoy their classes. I’m always very conscious about this and I always ALWAYS ask EB especially if she enjoyed the class. Some days she feels sleepy from not napping enough (or not napping cos she chose not to) and she gets a bit cranky. Or if there is a new teacher or new student that gets her a little shy and not used to it. Whatever the case is, I always ask if she likes her classes and I actually go down the list. I’ll say if she felt tired or did not like doing any of the activities anymore, she could tell me and we can stop going. (In fact, sometimes I sound too enthusiastic about stopping classes cos then not so tiring for me hahaha!) But she always comes back with an affirmative (and I would sigh silently in my heart).

Are you guys tiger moms/dads?

Honestly, I don’t see myself as one. Maybe my husband is. Cos half of the classes were his idea! Easy for him right? Just suggest, arrange trial class, tempt the daughter and when she is in hook, line and sinker, guess who has to bring her for all them classes?!? 🙄

But her swimming teacher actually told us that now is the time to do these classes, cos once they start formal education (Primary school), it will be difficult for them to go for so many classes. They won’t have time for it on top of their academic work and extra-curricular activities.

Have spoken to other mummy friends before too and they feel that the education system in Singapore and the world is changing. Academic results are not everything and at some point, kids need to have other skill sets or be able to show their abilities outside of schoolwork and exam results. How do we know what our kids are good at when they are 3, 4, 5? Heck, I hardly knew what I was good at when I had to choose a university course at 18! Is talent a result of nature or nurture? So do we pick activities and classes which we think our kids are good at, or do we pick what we think they need to thrive in the very competitive world we live in?

My own philosophy when it comes to these questions is probably that it is a little bit of everything. A talent which is not nurtured, is just wasted talent, even if it comes naturally. As parents, of course we want our kids to be happy and have a proper childhood filled with fun and play, but we also hope that our kids will thrive as they meet the demands of the world.

So…if I can help them discover their talents and passion, why not? Maybe somewhere down the road, they may find that they don’t have the passion for one area or the other, whether it be music, the arts, sports or something else, but at least we have tried and gone through it together, and have had the chance to figure it out. I think that is what is important.

I agree with Audrey that play is important, which is also why all of the classes I sign the kids up for have some or quite a large element of play. I personally don’t believe in the right brain training thing, or anything far too academic at this age. Even when choosing pre-schools, I kinda steered away from those which have a more academic structure. Nothing wrong with having worksheets or flashcards (EB gets flashcards from school too), or even right-brain training (my own niece and nephew went through those), but I would just rather spend our time and energy on activities that are more fun for the kids and myself. I’m also far too lazy to do “homework” with/for my kids. If it is not even fun for me, then why would I impose it on them? Like, I would TOTALLY join any of the activities they are doing. I actually have. Started learning the piano this year! Would totally restart my golf lessons and go learn to ride a horse if I had time and no leech (ED).

ED turns 3 next year and he has been sitting at the sidelines while Jiejie goes for some of her classes. He recently joined her a bit for golf but is still too young to formally start. I am looking forward to him starting on some of EB’s classes – pony, martial arts, golf, piano – to name a few, just so I can dump them in class and have some me-time. Hahaha

Is this too much though? I mean, the alternative would be they stay at home and play, watch TV, play more, run around downstairs? Doesn’t seem particular productive nor enough to expend their energies. HOW COME THEY HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY?!? Seriously, some days even after a looong day (or what I feel is long), they still have so much energy and can run and fight and play. I’m like…🤯!

Haha so anyway that is all I have for now. Wrote this while putting the littlest critter down for his nap. Multitasking ftw. Also, I need to pack their swimming bags.

Let me know what you guys think? Curious to know your thoughts. ☺️

11 thoughts on “Is this too much?

  1. SarangAyo

    Actually, now that i think about it, I send A and lil A for about a number of classes a week too. They are all on weekdays and I don’t schedule any on weekends as those are family bonding time.
    – Chinese class for A (3 times a week cuz school doesn’t teach them here)
    – Ballet (twice a week for both)
    – Swimming (Once a week for both)

    In fact, many ppl have asked me why i sign A up for ballet. Reason was actually v simple – it beats letting him stay home to watch tv nonstop while we were at class, which he tends to do since im not at home to set limits.

    There were many times during school hols that he asks me when he is gonna head to school, or whether there are chinese class that day. Lil A adores ballet and she will tell me “Look Meimei dance!”

    I think if there’s anyone who’s truly tired, it would be me doing all the fetching/sending etc. But if time schedule allows i would still want to sign them up for more to expend their energy – which they have alot of. There are some parts like martial arts and music, that i would like them to be exposed to.

    Btw, they also go to the playground daily in the late afternoon for about an hour plus, to soak up some sun which is good for their eyes. As for indoor play, they have it too, during the 1-2 hour waits between lunch and classes. Or between dinner and bedtime. So, I don’t think their free-play time is too limited in any sense.

    Am i a tiger mum? I don’t think so… A still doesn’t know how to write anything except his name, while his peers can apparently do hanyu pinyin already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yah la I also dun think you are tiger mom. If EB is not in her current school, she would probably have Chinese classes too. Not so much to learn as to be in a Chinese speaking environment so that it is not too alien to her. I think kids learn best when they have fun at it! But seriously leh, why do they have so much energy ah?!?!

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  2. Churra

    I think there’s nothing wrong with enrichment classes before pri sch (non academic ones). I would love to send vel to more (but financially a bit hard) for various reasons. One, going classes means lesser YouTube time. Two, at this age, they learnt and absorb the most. Why not? Three, once they hit pri sch, they will be loaded with homework and cca. And hor, those not parent accompanied class will give me a bit of breather. 😋😋

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    1. Yah when the kids are at home, they constantly ask me to turn on the TV. Not at home, no temptation! But it is true that they absorb so much and so quickly at this age. And yah lah, once hit primary school no chance liao la!

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  3. It does sound like alot of classes but I do think you’ve chosen a good mix of indoor and outdoor classes and as you’ve mentioned the classes are more fun than academic.

    My girl only goes for ballet at the same school as EB but now she has lost interest so we’ll be stopping. As a FTWM, I’m not sure if I’ll still send her for classes since most weekdays she’ll be at school and we only have a limited time slot on weekends. Sometimes I really fear that I’m not nurturing her enough.

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    1. Time is so so precious loh. I completely understand that. If I were a FTWM, I would probably prioritise family bonding time over classes ANYDAY. Haha how come she lost interest in ballet? I keep wondering why EB doesn’t lose interest in ANY of the activities. Like why always sooo excited about all of them de, until I threaten her with not going to class when she misbehaves or doesn’t eat/nap. I tired leh!!!

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      1. She told me it wasn’t fun and preferred to stay home to play. It did coincide with a change in teacher though so I’m not sure if that’s a factor as well.

        She’s interested in art (drawing and coloring) but I find it quite bo liao to go for art classes cos my thinking is that creativity is in built.

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        1. Oh! I’m letting EB try this holiday programme at Da Little Art School since we’ve never done an art class and she seems to enjoy art and craft a lot. Haha no chance to schedule it into her normal week but holiday programme can la. Maybe you can check it out?

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  4. I read fourfeetnine’s post abt free play as well! And well there’s recently a lot of talk abt how free play stimulates thinking.
    I work full time so unfortunately I only have my non working weekends to play around with since I don’t have the luxury of additional help to send my kids for lesson and my elder goes to full day childcare. Among the two of them I send them for three lesson, music and multisports for the 4yo and sparkanauts for the 18 month old. Tried to squeeze in a swimming lesson but I just can’t find a time! Highly impressed by how you manage to squeeze in so many lessons for your kids!

    My Mother keeps nagging that I’m sending them for too many lessons, but well she’s the kind who brings them to the park and teaches them abt nature at the same time (extremely thankful abt that). If I had lots of time to bring them out here and there to give them different experiences I don’t mind. But on the weekends that I work and my husband doesn’t, it either means that they are just making a fuss at home, or just whiling their time away trying to take food from the fridge, or ok sometimes playing by themselves. I’m also bad at teaching. I’m always wonder how ppl can home school. I have also tried downloading materials online, tried to teach my Son piano by myself but I can’t even get him to sit at the piano for more than a few minutes! In the end I just decided that maybe it’s better to schedule some lessons for them. Since I can’t teach I better pay ppl to teach them.

    But I do agree most important thing is for them to enjoy. My kids enjoy the lessons they attend so far and I find it’s a good equilibrium for the weekends – balancing my work family time and lesson schedules. And they still have time for free play – every day after he goes home from sch at 5pm, he still gets time to do his pretend cooking (his favourite) going to do some scooting on his scooter or go to the playground, and of cos the times during weekend that he’s not going for lessons, they are still playing all the time. In fact the whole living room is full of their toys.

    I don’t think there’s a answer to whether how many lessons is too much. Someone who doesn’t send their kids for lessons but drafts up an extensive home schooling schedule vs someone who doesn’t teach at all at home but sends for many many enrichment lessons. Is there a difference?

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    1. Definitely agree with free play stimulating imagination and creativity. Haha yeah I feel you about the toys situation. I have toys everywhere at home and a “parking garage” of their scooters and tricycles OMGosh it drives me nuts!!

      I had some working mums who wrote to me saying similar things as you – that after work, they would rather spend their precious quality time with their kids than send them for classes. That is something I totally agree with. For me, quality parent-child bonding time trumps ANY class. I know that we are extremely privileged to be able to go for these classes. My mum sometimes ask why I don’t just put the kids in fulltime childcare so that I have some breathing space and sanity, but we did make that conscious decision to put EB (and eventually ED) in a half-day/3-4hr programme so that they get to have the structure and social skills school provides and still have the time in the afternoon to do the classes they like.

      I am constantly in awe of moms who homeschool. I also cannot do it. I have tried to just do like a weeeee bit of homeschooling, but wah really cannot. Once in a while planning structured play is one thing; doing it regularly is really tough for me. Haha. I suppose that’s why I’d rather tire myself out sending them for classes. I also need to go out and regain some sanity.

      So in a sense you are right I guess. There is no straight answer to my question. Just thought it’ll be interesting to get some views other than my own. Thanks!!

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