My 6-Year-Old Wants More 'Me' Time

If I had to do it all over again just to make money, I think I would run an after-school program for grade schoolers. It's incredible to see the military-like efficiency with which parents and babysitters swoop in at pick-up to extricate their charges and re-route them to their next stops. Gymnastics, piano, fencing, karate, Kumon, soccer, yoga, robotics, tap, voice lessons, Italian ... you name it.

This is not a bad thing, mind you. I think it's great. Why not learn as much as you can always? And the kids love it. Except for one, that is: Mine.

My daughter has decided that after school she wants to do nothing. She is tired of having more classes after her long school day. She doesn't want to be signed up for another semester of ballet -- she's more of a hip hopper anyway -- and passed up architecture and drama, even when her pals were all in.

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When she told me, I didn't know how to react. It's not like she was begging out of a challenge or trying to avoid something or someone. She has plenty of friends. She loves school. She's the kind of kid who dives right into a party, even if she barely knows the kid whose party it is.

On one hand, her babysitter wouldn't have to be going in two different directions to get her and her sister where they need to be. Plus, it's a huge cost savings. These classes do not come cheap. On the other hand, some part of me instinctively felt like she needed to be doing more. And why the sudden change anyway? Was it laziness?

When I asked my little joiner why she wanted to clear her schedule, she said something I thought was pretty profound. She just wanted more time for herself. She still loves her baby dolls. Her LEGO Friends. Her stuffed animals. She said she missed having time to just play. She'd come home, eat dinner, then the bedtime routine began, and -- boom -- the day was over.

Play? Slow down? Interesting. So we've been trying it out. Her schedule of nothing, I mean. I've come around to thinking that she's got little time left without responsibility and she's right to savor it. Pretty soon there will be homework and serious stuff she has to do.

Sometimes I do feel like a bad mom, especially when her classmates are slinging their backpacks over their shoulders and scarfing down granola bars on their way to science or tap or hockey. And sometimes I don't. When a friend's mom asked what days my daughter was free for a play date and I said, "All of them," it was nice to hear her say, "Good for you."

Has your kid ever asked for more 'me' time?


Image via kellyv/Flickr

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