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Fairness in extra curriculars for younger children


Janeway
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For the 5 and 7 yr olds, 5 yr old has always begged to do gymnastics. I was gearing up to enroll her when husband got laid off. Thing is, 7 yr old isn't asking for anything specific. But I always feel like he gets the short end of the stick on things. I don't want to pay a bunch for 7 yr old to do an activity if he is not really in to anything. But 5 yr old is trying to do gymnastics all over the house. As of yet, I sort of concluded that neither child should do anything to keep things equal. 

 

I plan to send 5 yr old to public school this fall. I worry if I go ahead and try to send her to gymnastics, not only will it be unfair to the 7 yr old, but that once she has to get up at 6:30am and be all school all day long, she will be too tired to do gymnastics at the end of the day anyway. Plus, it is expensive. If you commit to 6 months or more, I found something as cheap as $22.50 per class plus a $40 registration fee. I did find a place a little further away that is very competitive (some people go to Olympics) but is actually cheaper if you commit to 6 months. By cheaper, I mean less than $20 a class. 

 

Part of me thinks I should get her in the gymnastics while she is still young and small. She might actually be good at it and this could be her thing. But another part of me thinks it would be unfair to send her to something and not her brother and I shouldn't bother to spend that kind of money on an activity for a 5 yr old.

 

What do you think?

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I also don't think you need to rush into more activities.

 

At the same time I don't think that "fairness" should be a primary driver of decisions when it comes to children's activities. Yes, you want to make sure you are aware of and seeking to meet the needs of each child individually--you don't want someone to be actually neglected. But not all children are similar in their need for outside activities.

Edited by maize
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You could always look at a good summer tumbling class to quench the gymnastics bug for the time being. That's what we're doing. It's much more affordable and is giving me time to search for a non-elite gymnastics program to meet our needs (which may or may not happen.) If 7 yo wants to join, he could then, but if he doesn't care I wouldn't make a thing of it. Different desires in different seasons and all.

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With multiple kids and an intensive therapy schedule for my SN child, I look for activities that either multiple children can do or that are at the same location at similar times. So when my oldest wanted to do a teen art class, I signed up her brother for a different class that met at the same community center right before it. So it was only 1 trip there and back.

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I'd look for some rec league summer tumbling or something along those lines. Around here there are lots of cheap half day camps through the parks department for kids that age and some of them are "gymnastics." She's interested so if you can make it work, it seems like that's worth it if you can find it. For for the fall... I'd just hold off. If she settles in, and is continuing to ask about gymnastics and/or doing little cartwheels around the house, then look into it for the winter or spring session.

 

I don't think activities have to be equal at every moment. It's more important that everyone is getting what they want/need. If the 7 yo doesn't need or want much of anything, great. If the 5 yo needs the physical outlet and wants gymnastics, then if you can find a way to make it happen, then that's great too. At some point, maybe it'll switch.

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I feel like you've had concerns over fairness before. 

 

My kids are 18 months apart, so similar to your 5 and 7 year olds.  Always, always, the younger has wanted to do more than the older.  So, when we could, we let her do them.  The older didn't care because he didn't want to do those things, and there weren't other things he wanted.  Instead, he got more time with me.  I remember in particular a class she had at a rec center with a small library.  He and I would spend that hour in the library together - he was in heaven - an full hour at the library with mom without little sister around!   It was great for everyone.

 

Of course as they got older their interests diverged even more.  There were periods of time when she had nothing to do while he was in a robotics club.  She wasn't interested in joining robotics; there was no other activity available that she wanted to do.  So she did other things like arts and crafts, writing stories, etc. 

 

Over the years it's probably evened out, or if it hasn't, it doesn't matter.  No one felt life was unfair because one person had an activity and the other didn't. 

 

So, if she wants gymnastics and it is convenient and affordable for you, and you think it's a good thing for her, take her.  And do something else with 7 year old.   (BTW my daughter did start gymnastics rather late; she was way older than the other girls in the beginning class, so she felt rather awkward and out of place.  Turns out she wasn't very good anyway.  But we didn't know that at the time.  So there can be good reasons for starting youngish, if there are no other concerning issues, such as money and time.)

 

 

Edited by marbel
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I'm kind of surprised that you have weekly activities available to you over the summer.  Around here a lot of that kind of stuff devolves into week-long summer camps because of vacation plans.  I would suggest looking for a gymnastic summer camp for the 5YO and for a summer camp for something that you think the 7YO would enjoy for him.  Some kids need to get exposed to things to find out that they like them.  This is a great age to try for diverse exposures.

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There is no rush and I'd hesitate to pay that much per class for a 5yo.  I'd have them play outside and take swim lessons.

 

As your kids get a little older, your 7yo may find something he likes to do.  Library book club?  Soccer?  Piano?  Robotics?  Doesn't have to be similar to gymnastics.  Doesn't have to cost money.  The hard thing is having multiple things happening in different locations, but again, as they get older this should get more manageable aka you can drop off for longer periods or leave somebody home.

 

I did insist on my younger doing gymnastics etc. though it wasn't her favorite thing.  I did it to meet her physical needs.  Currently she chooses to continue.  I am willing to pay rather than try to find some other way to get her moving.  Guess I could pay for more horse riding lessons, but that wouldn't save me any money.  :P

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I think some 5 year olds are ready for activities and some 7 year olds are not. That said if you are starting school in the fall I'd maybe try a casual rec class for summer and start with that and wait and see after school starts.

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Time and money are put in if the child a) appears to have natural talent and inclination AND b) is willing to self-manage whatever commitment is required of said activity.  I'm willing to gratify a casual interest in cheaper, less formal, and more convenient ways, though.  Instruments: buy one cheapish they can play around with at home.  Horses: books, toys, movies.  Dance: videos and dress up clothes.  Tumbling: trampoline for the yard, mat for the house (space allowing).  

 

ETA: this is just me, and I have family and friends that think I'm mean and strict, so there is that.  :D

Edited by CES2005
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I don't think it's fair to deny one child something because the other doesn't want it.

 

That said, I wouldn't drop a lot of cash on gymnastics for a five year old. Aries is taking his first tumbling class tomorrow, at age 11, because I finally found a rec class that is a good time, nearby, affordable, and the right age group for him. Only took 7 years.

 

We rotate activities. Gem and Taurus just finished baseball. Now the other three are each having a class. In the fall, we'll see what's available and who wants something that's on offer. If one kid can't seem to get interested in anything, I encourage short, one to five day sessions to introduce an activity. Eventually they find something they love. But it's silly and unfair to make everyone else wait because one kid doesn't feel like it.

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one of the biggest fallacies in life is equal = fair.   it doesn't.

children are different.  their personalities are different, their likes, interests, wants are all different. their needs are different.

 

if you have the time and money for your 5 yo to do gymnastics - sign. her. up. your 7yo is NOT part of this.

 

if you are concerned that the 7yo isn't' interested in anything - help him find something he likes. sign him up for trials of a variety of things and encourage him to choose something.  *for himself*.  gymnastics for boys at this age can be super boring - all building upper body strength. 

 

 

I've a friend whose son was afraid of the water - she finally had enough and taught him to dog paddle (he was 12).  he went to college on a swimming scholarship.

and dd's x-cntry coach. . . only wanted to play soccer - but never made the team. noticed his friends who did, did x-cntry in the fall - so he went out. he went to college on a x-cntry scholarship-  and the olympics.

 

my point is - unless your 7yo tries things - he won't *know* if he's really interested or not.  (don't force him to do the same thing as his sister unless he *wants* to - otherwise you're just setting them up for resentment against each other and that is not good for sibling relations.) he may be interested in something completely different.

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Just wondering since when is life fair?  And you are talking about a 5 year old???  And 7?

 

whenever my friend would whine to her mother that something wasn't fair . . . she'd answer back "life isn't fair, and you dont' want it to be."

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I wouldn't sign up for anything. I'd just let things settle after this past year. There's​ no need to run out and put a 5 yo in anything.

 

When you are ready to do stuff, I'd consider looking for different activities. Sometimes siblings need to be in different stuff even if it is inconvenient. My kids were required to do something mid elementary on. I gave them choices from local community centers and park authority and they tried different stuff until they found "their thing".

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Fair doesn't mean everybody gets the same. Fair means everybody gets what they need.

 

:iagree: Whenever my brother or I said something wasn't fair when we were kids, my parents would shoot back with "The fair is in August".  I'm still using that.  :lol:

 

Edited by WoolySocks
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Check groupon. Here you can buy a class for 10 drop in tumbling classes for $75 to be used over the summer. There are also camps for $100/week at gymnastics gyms. I think a lot of kids take a break over the summer, so they want to get bodies in the building.

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:iagree: Whenever my brother or I said something wasn't fair when we were kids, my parents would shoot back with "The fair is in August".  I'm still using that.  :lol:

 

 

My dad used to throw an imaginary flag from his back pocket and exclaim (over-dramatically, I might add), "We've got a NOT FAIR on the play!"

 

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For the 5 and 7 yr olds, 5 yr old has always begged to do gymnastics. I was gearing up to enroll her when husband got laid off. Thing is, 7 yr old isn't asking for anything specific. But I always feel like he gets the short end of the stick on things. I don't want to pay a bunch for 7 yr old to do an activity if he is not really in to anything. But 5 yr old is trying to do gymnastics all over the house. As of yet, I sort of concluded that neither child should do anything to keep things equal. 

 

I plan to send 5 yr old to public school this fall. I worry if I go ahead and try to send her to gymnastics, not only will it be unfair to the 7 yr old, but that once she has to get up at 6:30am and be all school all day long, she will be too tired to do gymnastics at the end of the day anyway. Plus, it is expensive. If you commit to 6 months or more, I found something as cheap as $22.50 per class plus a $40 registration fee. I did find a place a little further away that is very competitive (some people go to Olympics) but is actually cheaper if you commit to 6 months. By cheaper, I mean less than $20 a class. 

 

Part of me thinks I should get her in the gymnastics while she is still young and small. She might actually be good at it and this could be her thing. But another part of me thinks it would be unfair to send her to something and not her brother and I shouldn't bother to spend that kind of money on an activity for a 5 yr old.

 

What do you think?

I bet you can find the 5yo all sorts of cheap summer gymnastics activities that will fill the void before school starts without another big commitment. 

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