Monday, 26 September 2011

15 minutes a day

Two daughters in our household are taking piano lessons. One is taking violin. Their teachers have said that they will make good progress by practicing for 15 minutes a day.

It's got me thinking about practices I have, and whether I devote 15 minutes a day to them.

Writing - yes. But not on weekends.
Exercising - yes, usually. But I didn't yesterday, or even the day before yesterday. So I guess I'm not too consistent.
Prayer - no, not usually. Sometimes not even 5 minutes a day.

I find it a challenge to decide which extracurricular activities we'll participate in as a family. I don't want to overload my kids (or myself) with too much. And I want to think about why we're doing what we're doing, not just pile on more just so that our kids can experience every single possible activity. I feel like swimming lessons are a no-brainer. We're around so many lakes in Canada that I want my kids to be able to swim well. Music's important to me too. I want my kids to enjoy music and be able to play something for their own enjoyment. Beyond that, I'm not set on anything. But there are times when I feel like I'm a bit of a negligent parent if my kids can't skate as well as others their age.

I'm trying to define what skills/experiences I feel are important for my children. And then we can devote time to it.

For instance, I think that their spiritual/faith development is important. And I try to devote time to this each day. But 15 minutes? Sometimes, but other times - no.

What were you glad that your parents passed on to you? What things did you do for 15 minutes a day as a kid? What things do you practice now?


  1. We had a very free-wheeling childhood. For which I'm often grateful, and sometimes ... well, sometimes wish I'd had a few more opportunities to learn some of those things that are easy to learn when young. I begged to take piano lessons, so from age twelve through high school, I got regular piano lessons. I did not beg to play soccer, though I loved it, so I got one summer after we moved to Canada, age 11. The coach suggested I try out for the select team, but neither I nor my parents pursued it, and next year, we moved to the country and I didn't play soccer ever again. I regret that, quite a lot, actually. (Guess it's not too late to play now, at least for fun). I also wish I'd learned to swim as a kid (I had one week of swim lessons). On the other hand, I had a pony in the country, and I loved horses. And I played outside for entire days. And I read through several libraries of children's books. Oh, ballet. That was another thing I hoped for as a child, but did not receive.

    Hm. No wonder my kids do so much. I respond to every request or interest they express with "we'll consider it," and I usually find a way to squeeze it in, even if we have to find a creative way to do it.

  2. Carrie, so interesting how your childhood informs how you want to parent today. And that you cherish the free play that you had, but that you also yearned for more - ballet, soccer, swimming.

    I guess I wonder how much to "plant" in their heads - asking my kids whether they'd like to do something. Often the answer is no, and I end up pushing them on it and signing up because I think it will be good for them. Swimming I don't even ask anymore. I just sign them up and get ready for the tears on the first lesson.

    It's not too late to play soccer! Derek has been playing hockey for the last 3 years and he's playing the best hockey of his life because he didn't play growing up - living in South America and all.

  3. I do mostly go by interest. The exceptions are piano and swimming, which are basically mandated. But when the teacher we'd chosen for our eldest didn't work out, we looked for another piano teacher and found a better fit--so there is some flexibility. All of the rest of the activities are ones they've expressed interest, or we've suggested and they've agreed to do. Our problem is that a few of the kids are interested in WAY TOO MUCH and so we have to pare down and not do everything ... or look for creative alternatives.

    Thanks re soccer. Funny, I just blogged today about dropping an opportunity to play. I need to muster my self-confidence!