Choosing a Family Activity over Team Sports

In my last post I told you about our plans to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail next year. Included in that post were a few photos from our early years of hiking with our family.

Damien hiking with Brienne

Damien and I haven't always hiked with our kids. We didn't start in earnest till our youngest was 3. And even that "earnest" was not what it was to become once we started one day a week. But it was a start, with a commitment on our part to make hiking our family activity.

This was a conscious choice. When our kids were preschoolers we decided to invest our "kid activity" energies into one main family pursuit that we could all do together. Kids need to be engaged outdoors and in physical activity of some kind. To this end, many families choose soccer, hockey, gymnastics, or dance.

Renee with kids on Table Rock Grafton Notch

Our reality was three kids close in age, one income, and one car. We knew being involved in the typical sports scene would stretch our resources and time in ways we didn't want.

The typical team sports schedule and philosophy seems to make certain assumptions about family life. You are willing to rush through supper (or "grab something on the way") and regularly go separate ways as a family. And, if you are the parent, you're willing to sacrifice a good part of your weekend to sit on the sidelines.

Damien hiking with Brienne

Damien didn't want to be a chauffeuring father, relegated to providing the registration and equipment fees, and conscripted into coaching (because he would be the dad on the field). He wanted to do an activity with his kids, something he enjoyed doing and could teach them to enjoy also.

I was happy to go along with whatever he wanted. I spent all week with our young children, and we went outdoors almost every day anyway - neighborhood walks, playgrounds, and walks in the woods.

little kids eating snack in woods

I think I could have gone either way, team sports or family hiking, but I didn't really want to be a soccer chauffeur either, or sacrifice family life and goals for sport schedules.

So we started hiking, then camping. And then backpacking.

And that's how we ended up where we are. Not tied to team sports, but tied to each other.

Renee and kids in tent

I am not criticizing team sports for children. For many kids they are a lifeline of health and hope. But, contrary to popular culture, team sports are not necessary to raise active, healthy children. Active and healthy parents raise active, healthy children. Team sports are one way to do this, but not the only way. And not our way.

When I was finding photos for my last post I went looking through our photo archives. What a trip down memory lane that was. I choose a few of the best photos for the post (I wasn't much of a photographer in those days) but there were so many more photos I wanted to share.

Damien with kids in Needles Eye

My 14, 12 and 10 year old were littles once, just like yours (I know that families with younger kids read this blog). And to rediscover all those photos of them hiking in the woods and up mountains reminded me of the journey we've been on as a family. Our journey of hiking and being together outdoors. It's who we are.

Tougas Family 2008

I made a little "down memory lane" slideshow of the early years of our hiking and camping adventures. In 2009 we started blogging at Outsideways (then called AdventureinProgress) and around the same time I shared more of our hiking photos here at FIMBY also.

This is a slideshow of the years before that, 2005-2008. (If you don't see this in your reader, click through to the blog post.)

Apologies, I no longer have a flickr account, where I created this slideshow. You'll just have to trust me. It was nice "hike" down memory lane.

I had little children once and we went hiking and summited little mountains. And as those children grew we summited bigger ones.

And isn't that family life, in a nutshell.

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  • Liz ~ A Natural Nester

    Liz ~ A Natural Nester on May 29, 2013, 11:57 a.m.

    I LOVE this! We have tried juggling gymnastics and dance classes for my young daughters, but it never feels "right" to any of us. We take a lot of outdoor walks together, and spend time at parks, the beach, in the backyard, etc., but we've yet to really commit to a specific activity as a family. I'll be thinking on this now... and what would fit for us (hiking in Florida is less than ideal, but kayaking, snorkeling, camping... so many options.). Thanks for the insight & inspiration!

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    • renee

      renee on May 29, 2013, 12:02 p.m.

      Absolutely! Hiking worked for us because of our location and interests but there are so many other options - cycling, surfing, kayaking, canoeing (if you live in MN say). And you don't even have to do just one but it is often more affordable if you focus on something for a time because specialized gear does cost $$, but you're also saving money by not enrolling in all those other classes, etc.. A family outdoors activity worked for us and we like what it's added to our family, we created our own team sport!

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  • Trace

    Trace on May 29, 2013, 12:49 p.m.

    This is such an inspiring post! Renee, I would LOVE to read more from you about how to make hikes and camping happen with the under-7 set. Can we hike/camp with our kids, the youngest being just 18 months old? It's something we'd love to try, but as inexperienced outdoorsists ourselves, we feel, um, challenged, to say the least. By the way, we made your baked beans yesterday, and they rocked!

     

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    • Alaina

      Alaina on May 29, 2013, 7:40 p.m.

      I highly recommend "kids in the wild" by Cindy Ross.  The book explains a lot of those details of doing things with young kids. They took their kids of all ages on outdoor adventures.  Now although they did more "extreme" things with their own kids at young ages than I have ever done or would like to do, they explain many different things in the book that really have helped us and inspired us with our own ideas of hiking and outdoor activity.  Personally from my own experience from day tripping various things and some car camping with kids (only done longer trips before kids) babies are much easier and toddler to age 3 seems to be the hardest stage but after about age 3 it gets easier. Not to say don't do it but have reasonable expectations. Start small and keep in mind it does get easier as they get out of that toddler stage.  There are also "the parent's guide to camping with children" by Roger Woodson which has car camping and trailers and cabins etc...less "extreme" but still lots of good ideas for beginning and also "Cradle to Canoe: camping and canoeing with children" by Rolph and Debra Kraiker- many great camping ideas beyond canoeing as well.  Hope this helps

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  • Nicole

    Nicole on May 29, 2013, 1:28 p.m.

    My friend has a 2 and a 4 year old, and was just recntly being questioned by some Moms why the oldest wasn't on a sports team yet!  They are an outdoors family like we are, and go hiking a lot, and she was explaining they were not going to do team sports just now, as they choose family adventure activities instead.  I was telling her last night how Jeff and I felt about this topic for our family, and now I get to send her the link to your great article!  Thanks for the timely post; I know my friend will be encouraged by your words. 

     

     

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  • Julie

    Julie on May 29, 2013, 1:39 p.m.

    I was wondering if/where you found backpacks for the kids that have not only the clip to provide support at the chest, but a hip belt as well.  I haven't been able to find the right size backpacks that fit my 12 yr olds, my 10 year old or my 6 year old.  I know it will be expensive, but it would be nice to find something with a bit more support.

    Love the pictures!!!  We started hiking as a family when the kids were very young, but not every weekend.  We recently started running, however I don't think that is going to continue, not everyone is totally commited.  But, we out as a family and that is what counts.

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    • renee

      renee on May 29, 2013, 1:45 p.m.

      Looks like we need to write a backpack post. That is one of the most common questions we get! Short answer: we buy petite and xs lighweight women's gear for the kids. And when they were really little they wore LL. Bean backpacks (not lightweight), we got these cheap at the outlet near where we used to live in Maine. 

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    • Nicole

      Nicole on May 30, 2013, 1:39 p.m.

      Deuter brand, models Fox 30 and Fox 40.  Love them!  

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  • Jess

    Jess on May 29, 2013, 2:31 p.m.

    We feel much the same way, we are a one income one vehicle home and all of the shuffling kids in and out of the car just doesn't work for us. I also need calm (or at least not rushed) meal times at the end of the day. We've tried gyimnastics with our oldest for about 2 years, it got to be too much for us, I couldn't imagine trying to juggle more that one.  My husband gets flack from other dads at work who say that our kids will be "lazy" because they are not invovled in sports. We run, hike, and climb together and I wouldn't want to  go back to being busy. This past weekend several of our friends' families spent the entire holiday going to soccer and softball tournaments, racing from one game to another and attempting to entertain theounger ones throughout.  Being free from obligations we spent the weekend traveling to diffrent state parks and climbing. Much more relaxing in my opinion!

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    • renee

      renee on May 29, 2013, 3:36 p.m.

      I hear you! I think your husband might get the flack from his co-workers because they're jealous! Damien has a lot of great stuff to say about this (as a Dad). He's too busy to write about it right now but basically it's this:

      Our goal is to raise active, healthy-for-life adults, and to be those adults ourselves. We feel that teaching our kids to rely on sports as a means to keep fit through adulthood is not as sustainable as the other options available to us, mainly family outdoors. Sports might work well during childhood, while society is set up to support team sports for kids, but it doesn't work as well for adulthood.

      Kids need to learn how to exercise, every day, as part of normal living. How to exercise for health and  because it's fun and feels good. They need to learn how this fits into family life. They need to learn how to cook and eat healthy. They need to learn how to be well rested and have regular Sabbath. They need to learn how to respect and use their bodies to their full capacity, as they were designed to do. We teach all these in the context of family living.

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      • Kika

        Kika on May 29, 2013, 4:29 p.m.

        Many adults play sports - in our little town, for instance, there are adult leagues for rugby, soccer, basketball, hockey... In the closest city there are also "old timer" leagues for many sports so men can continue playing the team sport they love.

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      • Julie

        Julie on May 29, 2013, 4:47 p.m.

        We do both (sports and family hikes/camping). We've been camping regularly since our youngest was 2 (she's 11 now).  Being together outdoors as a family teaches so many things, and is just plain fun!   We have never done it weekly though, or even monthly, though we are ourdoors daily (mild climate in California, and we walk many places).  Regular physical activity in the context of day to day life is very important to me.

        My kids also do organized sports.  To me, they also help teach things -- such as learning to work with people who aren't family members, losing and winning gracefully, etc.  The other thing is, some kids just fall in love with an activity -- they lead and we follow.  My oldest is heavily involved in competitive Irish dance -- something I didn't know existed until she fell in love with it.  We could have said no, it's too much for the family, and sometimes the time commitments bother me -- a lot!  But she loves it and we see many benefits.

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        • renee

          renee on May 29, 2013, 5 p.m.

          I think every family needs to find a path that works well for them and meets their goals, both for family life and in support of their children's interests. Sounds like you've found a path that works for you.

          Any activity, or way of living, any choice really, comes with benefits and costs. And each time we choose one path, we necessarily are saying no to something else. And that's ok.

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          • Julie

            Julie on May 29, 2013, 5:14 p.m.

            Totally agree -- my point was more that it needn't be either/or -- it is possible to do non-family physical activity and family activites. 

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  • Breanna

    Breanna on May 29, 2013, 2:32 p.m.

    I have been reading your blog for over a year now although this is my first time commenting :) I have really loved these last few posts - my children are 6 and 2 and we are just starting our homeschool journey, you are a huge inspiration to me with the type of homeschool life I am looking for and also with the hiking - we live four hours away from the Canadian Rockies and hiking there with my children is something I am really looking forward to as time goes on. Thank you for all the inspiration!!

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  • Jill Foley

    Jill Foley on May 29, 2013, 2:57 p.m.

    Oh m goodness....I am writing a very similar post - you beat me to it!! This is what we are chossing to do also. We did try family karate lessons this year, but it just wasn't for us. Neither of us want to sit on the sidelines watching our kids do something when we could be out doing something together as a family. Especially during the short years we all live under the same roof. And even though my husband doesn't play violin like the rest of us, I approach our music the same way - something we share and can do together (at least 3 of the 4 of us!).

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  • Lisa S

    Lisa S on May 29, 2013, 3:05 p.m.

    We have always gone out to the mountains once or twice every year to go camping and hiking.  When the babies came along some of my co-workers commented that they guessed I wouldn't be able to do my trips that year.  But they were wrong!  You can camp and hike with babies!  They're portable!  Yes, it does take more work, and it does limit the amount of hiking you can do in the early years.  I would love to live in an area of the country that would allow us to hike as a more regular activity, but we do what we can.

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    • renee

      renee on May 29, 2013, 3:27 p.m.

      I don't have a lot of experience in this regard, mostly observation - that babies seem easier to hike with than toddlers. You can carry babies easier in a pack, toddlers mostly walk and their pace is slow.

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  • Kika

    Kika on May 29, 2013, 4:40 p.m.

    I agree that one doesn't need team sports and that finding healthy activities to pursue as a family is wonderful. Also, the emphasis on team sports can be detrimental to those of us who hated them as children and didn't have support to pursue exercise/health in other ways. Team sports can be very expensive and busy, as you mentioned, and while my son travels most weekends during basketball season, we have opted out of competitive soccer b/c we refuse that level of busyness/cost. Having said that, my husband played sports and ran track professionally and loves them. He is so happy and in his element coaching and reffing track & field, soccer and basketball so I cannot dismiss the important place organized sports can have in some people's lives. Two of my children love playing sports and also pursue some independant forms of physical recreation. We have yet to find ONE activity that all of us can pursue together joyfully but my husband and big kids are happy doing what they do (and I jumped in for years and volunteered in these areas even though it is a far cry from my passion). I have always liked taking my kids on nature hikes or getting us out of town for gentle hikes, bike riding, long walks, etc. I used to swim regularly and had dreams of my kids one day doing laps with me though this never materialized - although my middle daughter is completing her last swim level this summer and plans to lifeguard once she's old enough. Anyways, we haven't managed to fit into a neat and tidy bundle but the important thing for me is that we all move our bodies regularly and enjoy it.

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    • renee

      renee on May 29, 2013, 4:53 p.m.

      I think part of the reason this works so well for your family is because your husband has a passion for sport and history with professional sports. (In fact, I thought of you when writing this and knew these ideas wouldn't work for your family, and even wondered what you'd have to say about them!). Being in your element and the joy you experience in that place is a great way to inspire your children. I see this in your situation. Your husband loves organized sport. I'm suggesting an alternative for those who don't or want an alternative path (smile). Neither Damien nor myself want to coach or ref (neither of us liked team sports as kids either).

      I don't think one family activity is necessary and it doesn't work well for everyone, especially where kids are spaced in age. But it's worked very well for us. Neat and tidy bundle isn't the goal, happy, healthy family life is! And I think you've got that down!

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      • Kika

        Kika on May 29, 2013, 5:01 p.m.

        Yes, and I admire the way your family spends this time together and how you have all worked hard to make it happen:)

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    • Kika

      Kika on May 29, 2013, 4:55 p.m.

      Oh, and my two big kids are also following in their dad's footsteps in that they are now reffing sports as well. I am happy they connect in these areas:)

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  • Alaina

    Alaina on May 29, 2013, 5:40 p.m.

    I LOVE this, thank you for sharing!!! So neat to see your little children.  Inspiring.  I think that I might have to go through my photos and make a collage of sorts for our wall of the best of our outdoor photos.  My children are still little but we have many photos like this. 

    I just wish that we lived closer to hiking opportunities.  We have community trails (some wooded and nice) and some smaller (2 to 4 km) trails which are GREAT for younger families but there is very little- 1 that I know of, actually) trails that are longer and bigger adventures within 2 hours.  You are very blessed to have so much nearby! We're working on working with what we have and being content with it. :)  Who knows where that will bring us.  

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  • Alaina

    Alaina on May 29, 2013, 7:29 p.m.

    I have a question.  You are further down the parenting road than me so I want to know how this has worked out for your family.  We also choose family based over individual sports etc.  However then I start to worry (maybe you can erase my fears) about the age old "socialization" thing...if we homeschool, choose family based things over individual things, etc. then how does it look long term for socialization for the kids and friends for them?  We're just entering that stage where the oldest notices about friends and wants them.  How has this worked out for you? I notice many homeschooling families seem to have either a homeschool group (we are limited in this area) that the kids find friends in or they put their kids in lots of extra curriculur things (which we are not interested in for the same reasons you are not) and that is where their kids make friends.  So, seeing as you are also limited for other homeschool contacts and you choose family based things over individual, how does this work out for your kids?  My oldest so far seems "socialized" whatever that means and can talk to a wide range of people but I do wonder about the friends their own age thing.

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  • Kim

    Kim on May 29, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

    How did you know we have been discussing this in our home :) Our little man is 4.5 years and it seems this is the age to get them started, yet we are not feeling it. We are an outdoor family, hiking and playing in nature a lot and feel much more comfortable being in nature, as a family on our own schedule. Family dinners are important to us, our weekends are important to us and our bedtime routines are important to us and getting involed would mean some disruption to this and at this point we are not ready for or willing to let that disruption affect our family. Maybe one day, but not right now. Thanks so much for writing this, it is really great to hear how others do it and how it all turns out as they get older.

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  • Sarah M

    Sarah M on May 29, 2013, 9:53 p.m.

    It was so fun to see the pictures of your family as the kids have gotten older. My son is really content to be in the woods, canoeing, and camping with us, and my daughter likes these things, too, but she loves dance, too. Dance is so expensive (why is that?!) and she isn't currently enrolled in anything because of that. Before we moved 3 months ago, we had a really fun co-ed 'music & movement class' that was formed by a friend of ours, and met during the day for young & homeschooled kids. It was inexpensive, during the day, and she just blossomed during it. I'd love to give her that again (she's a kid that is always moving, talking, singing or making noise) but we just haven't found it out here. Always takes a little digging to find something that suits your needs.

    We have a once a week outing, too, but it's usually a hike or canoeing. Once the summer hits, though, I'm sure we're in for at least a once-a-month camping trip, too. I'm the one who likes camping the least out of our family. I get bit by bugs like you wouldn't believe. What do you guys use for bug repellent when you're out there in the thick of summer. I tried vinegar and they still attack me like crazy. I hate using the really chemical name brands, but it's the only thing that has worked in the past.

    Sarah M

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  • Kelsi

    Kelsi on May 29, 2013, 10:06 p.m.

    Your words are inspiring me and giving me such hope. My husband and I are asking some tough questions right now and really trying to articulate/focus our goals as a family. This post and the last, about the AT, were the right words at the right time. I love it when that happens. And I am so excited to watch your family do the AT. What a truly beautiful gift to give your kinds and your family.

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  • Sarah

    Sarah on May 30, 2013, 12:49 a.m.

    It's interesting to hear what people choose for their families! I love the idea of doing a "family activity"--I've also loved my childhood involved in organized sports. It's great to hear all perspectives!

    There are a few comments that make me believe that perhaps my perspective might be helpful? I don't know... but this is for you, people who are worried about getting your children "involved" "on time." 

    Don't worry if it doesn't work out right now. I know many people who got involved in sports and dance in middle school or high school and have risen to the height of their age group... Honestly, it mostly has to do with the childs passion and, to be honest, natural abilities... definitely not when they start! Also, I believe that starting in middle school, home schooled children can play for the local public school teams for free.

    Ok, so many technical sports are saturated. If you want to play competetive soccer or basketball, perhaps getting involved early helps. (I've played competetive soccer--until last year--and it is indeed a very competetive field.) However, I know multiple people who started running or mountain/cyclocross/road bike racing in high school and are nationally ranked (high). My sister started dancing in 8th grade and is now in a teen dance company. If your kid discovers something, loves it, and works hard, it may even work to their advantage that they haven't been drilled since early elementary. In the communities I've been part of, at least, I think there has been some pressure to "start kids early"... just wanted to say that if that is a stresser to anyone, I believe it's an unfounded pressure. 

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    • renee

      renee on May 30, 2013, 11:37 a.m.

      I totally agree Sarah and have seen this sentiment shared by others also. You don't have to start kids young for them to be successful at a sport, if they want to go that route.

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    • Kika

      Kika on May 30, 2013, 2:43 p.m.

      I wish it really were the case that HSchooled kids could always join local school's sports teams but it isn't. They often cut huge numbers of students, from their own school, who want to make the team. To then take a student who would be considered an outsider leads to disgruntled parents, students and sometimes staff who don't like homeschooling. We have experience with this:) This was one of the motivating factors in my son choosing to attend a local highschool; he REALLY wanted to play basketball (previously he'd been able to play for a local, private christian school that never has enough of their own players) and this was the only way for him to do so.

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      • renee

        renee on May 30, 2013, 2:57 p.m.

        Agreed Kika. I think this totally depends on where you live. In Maine, HSers has access to all public school sports and classes, with no preference to "schooled" kids. In Quebec, HSers have NO access to public anything. I can imagine that if public school provided a resource our kids really wanted to meet their goals that would be a huge motivating factor in re-considering our plans to homeschool through high school. As it is, that's not an issue where we live. But I can see how it could be, for more than sports - art and theatre, etc. 

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  • Susan

    Susan on May 30, 2013, 1:08 a.m.

    We do team sports but  have set firm limits. They can only play two seasons out of the year. Sunday is set aside for church. The rest of the years my boys ride bikes ,shoot hoops , skate board and play in our neighborhood. 

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  • Jessica

    Jessica on May 30, 2013, 3:46 p.m.

    Guess what we did this past weekned in between basketball games - went hiking!  Thankfully family time/enjoying the outdoors/dinner together and team sports are not mutually exclusive. We may be tied to team sports but we are also tied to each other. 

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    • renee

      renee on May 30, 2013, 4:44 p.m.

      That's awesome you can do that all. Depending on where you live, the number of kids you have playing sports, and the resources available to you fitting all that in might be more of a challenge. 

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  • melissa m

    melissa m on May 31, 2013, 1:01 a.m.

    You may be interested in looking at the blog www.trishalexsage.com. They regularly hike in the NH White Mts and as a family just finished the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The blog writer also has a book "Up: a Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure" by Patricia Ellis Herr. They are homeschoolers too.

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  • renee

    renee on May 31, 2013, 12:33 p.m.

    From the comments generated so far (wow, lots of action) I wanted to clarify a couple things.

    I believe that by saying yes to some things in our lives we necessarily say no to others.

    Saying yes to hiking every week means we can't do other things during that time. (For the last month or so we have said yes to late Saturday nights with friends so we've said no to early Sunday starts and we have hiked less on those days as a result. A choice we were happy to make.) Likewise you could say yes to weekly game practices on Tuesday & Thursday nights and you are therefore saying no to something else during that time slot.

    Saying yes to a team sport doesn't preclude family togetherness or family outdoors. (Though it may if you're saying yes to three kids in three different sports!) Nor are families who do team sports less close as a family. But a family that spends most of their active/leisure allotted hours on hiking, will do more hiking than a family that spends the active/leisure allotted hours spread over several activities with several kids. A family that spends hours at the arena will not be spending that time elsewhere.

    There is no right or wrong here, it's all a matter of what your family goals and vision are.

    If you want to do a lot of hiking together you need make time to do that, and that might mean not enrolling in sports. And if your goal is a multi-pronged approach to sports and activity, based on individual interests, you need time in your schedule to do that.

    This is not a bad thing. It's just a thing. There's a lot of things that families say no to by omission, i.e.: our kids don't take music lessons, there is a no in that. We never actually said, "no you can't do that", we just never introduced it into our routine. And they never asked.

    Early this winter we said an actual "no" to tae-kwon-do. The reality: we live aways out of town, snowy roads, dark winter nights, and more importantly, we had invested $$ into a family ski pass and scheduled 3 days of skiing into our winter weekly plan.

    The kids asked to take tae-kwon-do, we said, "no, not this season, we're doing something else." Tae-kwon-do remains an option again for this fall but it will be subject to our family schedule, not the other way around.

    I think it's great when families can incorporate sports into their family life, not go crazy schedule-wise doing so, or broke (the more kids you have the harder this gets), and still have the parents model activity and wellness.

    Sometimes it seems the parents are so busy with life (work, maintaining home, etc.) and then chauffeuring the kids they don't pursue active living themselves. In our case, we know we have limited resources all around - time, money and energy so our solution to this is to roll it all into one so when we're active, our kids are active and vice versa.

    Kids don't just need to be active themselves but observe what it looks like for adults to maintain health, on an everyday basis. And this is my critique of depending on team sports to provide this, since team sports don't translate well into most adult lives. You can be a star football player in high school but for most people that will not translate well to maintaining health into adulthood. Kids need to be taught lifelong, "I can do this activity" anywhere type of skills for healthy living.

    If team sports are in support of your family goals and values and are do-able in terms of time and resources, and don't preclude the parents staying healthy also - then that's fabulous!

    But when sports are not in the family goals or interests, or are sending families in a direction they don't want to go (I hear this sentiment a lot), there are other options.

    Which was my main point in this post.

    Go forth, be active, be happy. 

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  • Kika

    Kika on May 31, 2013, 4:12 p.m.

    I saw you tweeted about this post and it seems you felt attacked (something about you should crawl back into your cave now?!)... certainly I don't see any attack in these comments, only discussion, which is healthy. I never did say a formal YEAH!!! for your huge plans but I am excited and so proud of you. I tell other friends about you guys all the time and what an inspiration you are (not that I'd EVER want to do a 6 month hike;)). Anyways, I don't know what kind of feedback you've been receving from other directions but I'm thankful you tell your story and give your opinion. But the safe discussion and sharing of other opinions or realities is also important - so that readers can be heard too. Love you!

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  • Jessica

    Jessica on May 31, 2013, 4:54 p.m.

    Hope you didn't feet attacked by me.  I don't do Twitter but gathered from another comment. 

    It is a personal pet peeve of mine when someone explains why they do something by pointing out the negatives in something else

    We homeschool because public schools are......

    We eat organic because non-organinc is....

    We breast feed because formula is....

    We do team sports because hiking is.....

    I wish we would all lift each other up, which I failed to do with my comment.  Good lesson for me. I will do better!

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    • renee

      renee on May 31, 2013, 5:18 p.m.

      oh gosh no! No worries. There is room here for discussion, always. I really appreciated what you said Jessica, it pointed out to me how what I said could have been taken to mean that one activity necessarily precludes another, which I don't believe is the case. Though I do think saying yes always means saying no and vice versa. I like having the flaws in my argument pointed out, even if it makes me uncomfortable (smile).

      I was referring to something that happened elsewhere, not here. I love the comments I get here, yours included.

      Your comment was not a problem. I agree we should lift each other up but there also needs to be a place for questioning and critiquing ideas. And sometimes I like to do that here, and in turn, I should expect that those ideas will be questioned and critiqued! Figuring out how to do that - question and evaluate, and choose for ourselves - without criticizing other people is the trick, eh?

      Deep down we're all so vulnerable and want to be loved and accepted and yet we also want to speak our minds. That's a fine line to walk. 

      Have a great weekend! Hope there's basketball and whatever else your family loves to do!

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  • Kerry

    Kerry on June 1, 2013, 1:39 a.m.

    I just wanted to say that my kids do organized sports and I totally love and agree with your post. I didn't feel criticized, I felt inspired to make more time for the family actities we do have and to evaluate our reasons for the team sports we participate in. To be sure they are giving us what we hoped they would and that they are adding value to our lives.

    Baseball, for now, is here to stay. :) It's a family favorite.

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  • wanda

    wanda on June 1, 2013, 3:19 p.m.

    We do most things differently than your family: work outside the home, send our kids to school, and do team sports, but I LOVE reading your blog.  It always makes me do a check on what I prioritize which our so very similar to your priorities.  We just express them differently.  Team sports is huge in our life.  Both my husband and I coach and I grew up small town saskatchewan so you had to play hockey 10 months of the year!  As a family we often head to the soccer pitch or volleyball court and play as a family.  

    As my kids are getting older I do feel that our family activities shift.  Your post hit on that as well.

    Thanks for letting us see a little bit of your life.  It's an encouragement!

     

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    • renee

      renee on June 2, 2013, 8:09 p.m.

      I think it's great that your family does all that together. A family of hockey players and coaches, how very all Canadian! Team sports, as a family endeavor can be such a family building and value affirming activity. Go team (smile).

      reply

  • Catie

    Catie on June 2, 2013, 1:23 p.m.

    This is so good! I completely agree--as parents, we can feel pressure to have our children involved in every. little. thing.

    I'm slowly learning that just being with each other, at home or otherwise, is enough.

    It also encouraged me that you didn't start till your youngest was 3. I have an almost 5 and 3 year old and one on the way, and sometimes I feel like I need to do MORE for my oldest's sake. But it's not always possible, with naps and all that comes with itty-bitty's. :) I'll be sharing this post on my blog! God bless!

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  • Jessica Cary

    Jessica Cary on June 6, 2013, 12:25 a.m.

    I LOVE the idea of choosing one family activity that we all do together. I'm at home full-time with my almost four-year-old daughter + on the weekends my husband tends to take over activities while I have time to myself outside our home. I love the time alone, but lately, I've really been missing family fun.

    Our only family activity right now is haning up the laundry! Hiking or boating or birding would be so much more fun. :)

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  • Amy

    Amy on June 19, 2013, 12:37 p.m.

    Thank you for this!  I have friends who can't believe we don't have our 7-yr. old in team sports, and say "it's just a matter of time."  I resent the notion that we have to sacrifice family time for team sports.  If my son or daughters express an interest, we'll look into it.  In the meantime, my friends are shuttling their kids to sports that their kids really aren't interested in!

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  • Nadine

    Nadine on Aug. 20, 2013, 4:14 p.m.

    We did organized activities for the first time last year, and we were busy but too busy.  In the Spring, we had to shuttle my older son to baseball 2 to 3 times a week. Some games went on until 8:30, so my 6 and 7 year old were up late on school nights. Not good. My older son says he likes baseball, but he mostly sits on the bench or is put in the outfield just standing there. It cost us over $200 that season for him to just stand there. The only thing good about it was he was off the video games. He didn't make friends either from the experience.

    I am pulling my daughter from girl scouts because she didn't seem that thrilled with it. It was just an extension of a school day, a lot of sitting around reciting pledges and looking at the Journey book. Then there's the fundraisers where we would have to stand out for hours on a Saturday selling cookies outside of a supermarket.  She met one friend from scouts, it but that friend will be busy with several organized activities this fall. We'll be lucky if we see her at all this year.

    My 6 year old did karate for 3 months. He loved it at first but he lost interest quickly. The class was mostly jumping jacks, stretches, and chasing games that he probably could have done at home with kids his age. I was paying $65 a month for him to chase kids around a room.

    Thank you for writing this post. It really makes me think about signing up for these costly activites over just spending time together.

    reply

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