Everyone is busy these days. Our kids certainly are. Then again, we raised them that way, and I’m glad we did. As my daughters approach the tween years, I am seeing the benefits.
When they were babies, it was easier to go out with my three girls than to stay at home trying to entertain them and listen to them cry. Getting out gave me adult interaction and made the days go by a little faster and a little easier. I found that my daughters were calmer when surrounded by activity outside our home. I made new mom friends, joined the YMCA and stayed active, so the kids were used to being on the go. As they got older, Gymboree, swimming, skating, music classes and library visits kept us busy. The kids loved the activities, the new fun, the mom time and the other kids, and I loved being out of the house avoiding the laundry and dishes.
Now that my girls are 11, nine and seven, I have kids who thrive on being active and busy. Running in from school to unpack, change clothes, eat dinner and be back out the door 45 minutes later deliver newspapers is normal for us. Follow this by two hours of dance, gymnastics or a combo night of music and skating and there you have our typical week. Only the cook, dishwasher and chauffeur (me) find this schedule a little tight—the kids are fine with it!
We spend our summers with friends by our pool and participating in triathlons and five-kilometre runs as a family. In the winter, we ski every weekend. We are a family that stays busy, and yet my kids still beg to volunteer for two hours a week at a local charity to help others and make a difference. I never hear “I’m bored” and I don’t have to limit screen time since my kids get so little of it—I’m happy to see them flaked out in front of the TV when they get a chance. “I like watching TV, but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time,” says Brooke, my middle child. Like most kids, they enjoy downtime, but their down time is precious to them, not boring.
Being busy and active means they don’t have time to hang out at the mall, they don’t get drawn into the school drama or texting marathons, and being on the go has brought them closer as sisters. My seven-year-old’s perspective? “I like when we are busy and have to eat in the car. That’s fun.” And when asked how she feels about it, my 11-year-old replies, “I don’t see it as a busy life, I see it as a life full of experiences.” One I am proud they have.