What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  




     Home  >  Articles  > Activities Tips
by Judy Antell


      When your kids are small, you enroll them in 'movement' classes, hoping it will lead to a lifetime of sports or dance.  Read any parenting book, and you will encounter the benefits of said classes — which promoting physical activity, combating childhood obesity, instilling a passion.  Be careful what you wish for.


   My two older girls play travel soccer, which comes with a grueling schedule that demands a year-round commitment, twice weekly practices, and one or two games a weekend.  They are both superb athletes with not an ounce of body fat.  But my youngest is now clamoring for a travel tryout as well.

   Actually, she has been asking ever since some of her teammates on her recreational soccer team joined the more competitive teams.  We have put her off, using the excuse that she was "too young".  This placated her for a while, but she has cleverly figured out that she is now the age that her sisters were when they started playing 'travel'.

   But we simply don't have the time to cram yet another travel schedule into our overburdened agendas.  You don't just sign up a kid and she gets to play.  You have to take her to practice, and pick her up, or coordinate car pools.  You have to go to games.

   And then there's the tryout.  It isn't fun when your kid tries out and is rejected; Sela, our middle daughter, tried out for a team with a friend, and that friendship was strained when Sela made the team and the friend didn't.  Nora, our youngest, could try out and not make it.  Since she is not the strongest player, this is a good possibility, but a coach who knows our older girls might take her, figuring she'll develop into a better player.

   Nora, who is more into theater than soccer anyway, auditioned for a theater group and made it to the final round.  When she didn't get in, she was devastated, crying for days (what an actress!).  It's hard to see your child fail at something, though I've heard arguments that it will strengthen their character.

   There is a balancing act where you want to encourage your child to take risks, and try out new activities, but you also want them to be successful.  And each activities leader feels his is the most important, so kids run out of time to try different pursuits.  When Hallie, our oldest, was on a gymnastics team, her musical theater instructor made her choose between gym and theater.

   In 'rec' sports, you can be the worst player and still get equal time on the field.  In 'travel', there are starters and subs.  The subs tend to drop out because they have to make the same time commitment yet they rarely get to play.  I understand this from a coach's perspective —it's all about winning, and you want to field your best team. But I also see the parents' point of view. Why should they spend the time and money if their kid never plays?

   I have one fantasy where Nora tries out for 'travel', makes the team, then decides not to play because she has an acting role.  But that's not fair to the kid who doesn't make the team and really wants to. 

   So we'll keep trying to distract her from this travel team madness.  Tennis anyone?

Be the smartest parent in the 'hood

Receive our weekly highlights newsletter · Over 1,000 local activities

More Activities Tips Articles

How To Help Your Kids Succeed in Sports
Choosing the Right Camp...
Surviving Sport Tryouts
Beating Homesickness at Camp
An Olympic Gold Medalist for Education

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local Activities Tips Sponsors

Marcia the Musical Moose
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
Guitar, Magic & Puppet Show! Specializing in ages ...

Long Island Arts & Crafts
Syosset at Basketworks, 611 Jericho Turnpike
Syosset, NY
It's time to take out the glitter, pastels, paint...
Gene's Magic Show for Kids
New York, NY

Destination Science
Summer Day Camp Fun! Great locations in Garden City, Jericho, Manhasset, Merrick, and Wantagh
Destination Science kids (ages 5 to 11 years) enjo...

Breezemont Day Camp
62 Cox Ave.
Armonk, NY
Breezemont is a co-ed day camp for children ages 3...
See Our Activities Tips Directory

local zones


Nassau cont.


Suffolk cont.


Westchester cont.



Rockland cont.


Queens cont.


Brooklyn cont.


Copyright 2015 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE