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The terrible threes

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 Leave a Comment

We've got our 3 year old enrolled in Lil Kickers at the Bladium. By no means is he the youngest kid out there -- I see 18 month olds, unsteadily and adorably toddling around in their blue soccer uniforms and chunky tennis shoes. It's a program that teaches soccer skills, as opposed to competitive soccer games, and is based on child development theories, so that each age group engages in activities appropriate to that kid's age.

For example, 3 year olds like to imitate, so his class plays many versions of Simon Says, or hot and cold, or stop and go.

3 year olds also become timid when faced with new situations; they feel fear (there's spiders in the toilet!); they love to be silly and use nonsense words (you're a snorkel!); and they learn to assert their will. Yes, it seems that every situation, no matter how small, escalates into a battle of wills.

"I want to get out of the bath!"

"Okay, let the water out."

"NO!!"

"Then you can stay in the tub until you let the water out."

"NO!!!"

Fifteen minutes later, as my son stubbornly sits in a cold tub of water, I wonder why I chose this particular thing to make a point.

Oh, back to Lil Kickers.

After the new baby came, our 3 year old did some typical regressing: wanting to be held, acting like a baby, having meltdowns, acting silly to get attention. And suddenly he didn't like soccer anymore.

He became shy, stopped participating, or when he did, would run around talking baby talk and disrupting the other kids in the class. We left class early two weeks in a row. In the meantime, he's adjusting very well to the new baby, and even resumed potty training on his own. And yet he still won't get it together for soccer.

One friend (who doesn't live here) says our neighborhood is a peer pressure cooker, pressuring me to enroll my kid in too many activities at too young an age. When I complain about being on the waitlist at 3 preschools, she points out that I don't have to put my 3 year old in preschool; lots of kids don't go until they're 4. Stay-at-home moms, it could be argued, are teaching their kids just as much as a preschool could.

True, but she doesn't have to spend all day with him. He loves being around other kids, and he wants me around less and less, and I don't have the energy to entertain him 24/7.

What do you think: are we putting our kids in too many activities at too young an age?

3 comments »

  • CRICKET said:  

    When we enrolled my son for soccer last Fall at age 3 he was just too young. There were other kids the same age who did great but my child was totally clingy. Move forward 6 months and he is loving soccer. No longer clingy etc. Whats the change...Not sure but it could be because he started preschool in the Fall to and now is used to being around other children. I live in Denver and I was also on wait lists for preschool but I found one in Aurora and it has been more than worth the drive.

  • Anonymous said:  

    Any chance you could share the name of the Aurora preschool for those of us in the same boat?

  • Liz said:  

    ECE at Blessed Sacrament in Park Hill is an option...