Activities are expensive aren’t they? I complain all the time that my kids want to spend all their time on electronics and video games but when it comes right down to it, sometimes that’s all I can afford.
In the early days after the adoption we had my daughter in ballet and drama, and my son id karate, baseball, and wrestling. It was great. At 3 and 7, having been uprooted many times from families and schools, we found value in the socializing and confidence building in addition to the fun they were having. Classes were kinda pricey – and dance was over the top with the costumes at recital time, but it was worth it to see them blossom.
As the years went by and it became increasingly difficult for me to work due to their special needs, the kids had to start making choices about which activities they wanted most because without my income we couldn’t swing them all. The last year we did ballet we even opted out of the recital because it required too much money too close to Christmas. Cut to now, as a national recession has piggy backed on top of our already tight belt tightening, nobody is enrolled in anything.
My daughter loves to draw now. She’s into cartooning. Since we haven’t been able to enroll her in art classes, we have found lots of free resources on the internet and she is teaching herself some amazing things. She can often be found with her head in her netbook and for a hot second I am concerned and then I realize, she’s reading stories and studying art strategies. Do I still hope to get her enrolled in art classes at some point? Yes. She says she wants to be an artist for Sega, so I need to do what I can to get her the training she needs. But for now she’s okay.
My son is a tougher customer. He is a video game addict so anything we can do to get him out and socializing and exercising an using different skills is welcome. Guess what he loves – snowboarding and mountain biking. Neat right? We bought him all his gear last year figuring it would last him through this year but his boots and pants are too small. Dammit. And he wants to mountain bike like his Dad which is great, except that by the time I buy him the Canondale Lefty bike, Yakima bike rack, Peralzumi shoes and everything else he has picked out – we won’t have money left for groceries. For months.
Does he need to have top notch everything to get started? I don’t think so. But his Dad’s head is stuck in the days when he had lots of disposable income and it’s difficult for him to accept notions such as “budget” and “walk before you crawl.” Sigh.
With my son just two years away from 18, graduating high school, and facing college & life, the financial aspect of raising children is really weighing heavily on me. Like so many others, the last few years have brought us reduced savings accounts, assets, and home values. It’s like having to start all over, but in the negative, and we have only two years to catch up and get prepared for college. Then a few more years for the other college student, and then somehow for retirement. I know things always work out somehow, but as I sit here an contemplate and try to make plans and set goals – I just don’t see how.
I should add that I am sick today and seeing mostly everything in negative light so I bet I’ll have a better disposition in a few days.
What activities do your kids enjoy? What gets them off the electronics?