The Impatient Parent: Doing Too Much Too Soon

I took the boys to a hockey game on the weekend. Just me, Zacharie and Charlie. 1 dad. 2 kids.

On the way home, I wondered if I was pushing it. You know, going too far ahead of the curve, and getting too eager to experience life with my boys.

I constantly feel stressed that I’m not getting my boys into the proper sports and activities at an earlier enough age. My son is nearly 6 and can barely skate, while friends have their 4-year-olds playing full-on hockey.

Never mind starting my kids in school in kindergarten, we put them in private school so they could have French Immersion instruction in preschool, junior kindergarten, and then a full day kindergarten program when our government only offers a half day in the public school system.

Bringing kids to the movies, theatre shows, theme parks, etc. When they say “Family Day” are they really talking about the stroller set and kids under 5?  I often wonder if I am pushing the experience envelope too far with my kids. I wonder if I’m wasting my money, my effort, and my sanity on trying to schedule “fun” for my kids when they’d be just as happy heading to the LEGO store and playing in the brick pits.

I’m trying to foster memories and experiences for my kids, but does that need to start when they’re 4 and 5? Or can it wait until they’re 7 and 8?

  • Great Expectations 1 of 10
    Great Expectations
    Are we trying to do too much, too soon? Check out my experiences so far...
  • Skating Lessons 2 of 10
    Skating Lessons
    Zacharie may have started skating lessons when he was 40 mos old, but now, at nearly 6, he still doesn't know how to skate and doesn't show a lot of desire in wanting to learn.
  • First NHL Game 3 of 10
    First NHL Game
    Zacharie was barely 18 mos old when we took him to his first NHL game (and bought him a legit jersey!)
  • My First NHL Game 4 of 10
    My First NHL Game
    I was 9 when I went to my first NHL game with my grandfather. No jersey, but I did get a toque and tshirt.
  • Swimming Lessons 5 of 10
    Swimming Lessons
    Swimming lessons for Charlie at 9 mos old was nothing more than bobbing in a circle and singing nursery rhymes. We didn't need to pay for a teacher to do that.
  • Yo! Gabba! Gabba! 6 of 10
    Yo! Gabba! Gabba!
    At barely 3 years old I took Z to see DJ Lance Rock et al live. I even bought matching tshirts. He's outgrown his, I still wear mine. Maybe this memory was more for me than him.
  • Snowshoeing 7 of 10
    I rented snowshoes for all of us to do a simple hike. Charlie, 3, didn't want to wear his so I had to carry them. That weighed me down, and Zacharie had to pull Charlie in the sled. It was cumbersome, awkward, and far more than I could chew.
  • 1 Dad. 2 Kids. 8 of 10
    1 Dad. 2 Kids.
    Being outnumbered at an arena is a challenge. From different snack requests, to bathroom breaks, it would have been easier if the kids didn't need escorts everywhere in the building.
  • Paying Attention 9 of 10
    Paying Attention
    Zacharie loved it while Charlie watched. For a minute anyway.
  • Hockey Game 10 of 10
    Hockey Game
    At 38 months, Charlie is not ready for 3 hours at a hockey game. Snoozed before the start of the 2nd period.

I went to my first NHL hockey game when I was 9.  Zacharie went to his first game at 18 months and has probably been to a dozen already, and he’s not even 6.

At the game on the weekend, Charlie, just 3 played with the chair during the first period, fell asleep on me for the entire second and, frankly, didn’t see a second of hockey. When we went to the show jumping tournament last summer, I thought he’d be excited by the horses. He fidgeted in my lap and we lasted 45 minutes in the crowd.

It’s a weird kind of push and pull our generation of parents are displaying. We helicopter all over them to make sure they’re safe while at the same time pushing them out of the nest to give them a wealth of experience so they are ahead of their peers.

We had the boys in swimming lessons far too early. It was just nursery rhymes and splashing. We could have done that on our own, and did with our 2nd. While Zacharie was in lessons at 1 yr, Charlie didn’t start swimming lessons until he turned 3 and was old enough to listen, pay attention, and learn.

My boys have been to a few theatre shows. We’ve seen Yo! Gabba Gabba, Busytown, and Backyardigans.  At $30 a pop for tickets, (not to mention tshirts, snacks, and glow sticks) it can be an expensive night.  The question remains: do the kids even care?  Wouldn’t you be better off saving the $150 for their college fund?

I am eager to experience life with my kids. I get ambitious trying to take them camping, and hiking, and out on adventures only to be disappointed an hour into the day. I am constantly reminded I’m with a 5 and 3-year-old.  They’re my boys, but not my “boys“, my crew, my pals… right?

How do you decide when your kids are ready? When’s a good age to start activities? Are we pushing too hard, too soon?

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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