I am so thankful that this winter we have found a healthy balance of activities for our kids. So many families struggle with feelings of business when it comes to after school activities. So far, my tendency has been to stay away from activities outside of school. This is largely because the kids get so much activity and enrichment as part of their school day, and I want to prioritize time together as a family outside of school. Also, I know that whatever we start now sets somewhat of a precedent that will set expectations for the future. With a family of four kids, we need to pace ourselves.
This winter, though, I knew we would need some afternoon activities to keep us from getting cabin fever. My priorities were to choose activities that could either be enjoyed at home or could be enjoyed by most of the kids at a single destination. Preserving dinner time was a must. In the end, we settled on piano lessons for G-Bear (continued) and E-Bear (first time!) and swim lessons. We have been so thankful for both sets of experiences.
Piano continues to be a real treat. We love our piano teacher, Mrs. H. She comes to our house and does a fifteen minute Kinder lesson for E-Bear followed by a thirty minute lesson for our more experienced G-Bear. Thankfully, both bears enjoy Mrs. H's instruction and, at least so far, are happy to practice with only a little weekly cajoling on my part. Both T and I love hearing the piano as playroom background music.
Our second activity has been twice a week swim lessons at the Foss Swim School. Wow. We are so fortunate to have one of their pools nearby. These swim lessons are totally different than anything we have experienced. The pool is warm, really warm. Think bathtub warm. So, the kids are very excited to hop in the water when we arrive, even my littles who don't like cold water (just like their momma). Second, the teachers and teaching methods are excellent. The kids are drawn to the enthusiasm and out-going friendliness of the instructors. Everyone is known by his or her name. And, the class sizes are no larger than 3 or 4 kids. The best part is that each of our kids are improving by leaps and bounds. G-Bear is swimming like a real swimmer, E-Bear is swimming alone and getting rings from the bottom of the pool, and Buddy Bear is swimming assisted with his face in the water. The price feels a little steep when I am writing a check for three kids for four weeks at a time, but by the end of the swim session I always leave feeling like it was worth every penny. I have my fingers crossed that we will have three swimmers by this summer! Now that would be a winter activity well spent.