My child wants to quit and I don’t want them to…now what?
“My child wants to quit.”
I hear this often. Have you ever lost interest in something? I have. I have a guitar in my basement, a curling broom and shoes in my garage and a handful of other activities and hobbies that I’ve started and moved on from. I’d guess that you have similar experiences. All of this means that your kid is normal. But…you don’t want them to quit because you think the activity that they’re involved in is important and so now what? Well the good news is that there are a few strategies that you can use to help your child get through this phase (and there’s a good chance that that’s all it is).
- Figure out why your child is losing interest. In our program I hear all sorts of different reasons from the ridiculous (“They don’t like the colour of their belt”) to the very legitimate (“We are having a tough time balancing their four or five activities”). Sometimes kids can’t articulate why they’re losing interest so it’s important that you try to talk it through. Figuring out the main reason is important because it’s the best way that you can address it.
- Sometimes, even after talking, you still can’t figure out the reason, so you have to start looking at other things but here are the main reasons that I’ve encountered.
- How often are they doing their activity? Are you twice a week or 4 or 5 days a week? How often they’re training all depends on their age, the level they’re participating in and a few other things. If they’re practicing too often, they may be burning out.
- Are there specific days that they’re missing? Inevitably your child will enjoy certain parts of their activity more than other parts. Are they skipping out or fighting you on the days that they’re doing the things that they don’t like? If so, can those things be adjusted or eliminated? Maybe. Just talk to your teacher/coach and see if they have some ideas.
- Are they finding their activity too challenging? A bit challenging is necessary, but if it’s too difficult, they may find the challenge overwhelming and that may be affecting how much fun they have. The exact opposite may be true too. Maybe your child would like to be challenged a bit more.
- Do they not click with their coach/teacher/teammates? The activity that they’re in may be great, but maybe a change is in order. Some programs focus on competition in their training and others have a more relaxed approach. Either way, maybe they like activity but need to do it somewhere else.
It’s not unusual at all for kids (and adults for that matter) to go through ups and downs in their activities. Sometimes it’s just a phase that they’ll grow out of in a few weeks and with a few adjustments to their practice, they could be right back on track to smiling and laughing as they get back to doing what they love. Other times, maybe the activity just isn’t right for them, like when my mom put me in pottery when I was a kid. It wasn’t until after that class that I was enrolled in my first sport and from then on, I was as happy as could be.
There’s a whole lot of different factors that can go into your child’s experience in extra-curricular activities but just because they don’t like one, doesn’t mean that’s the end of them and all the benefits that they can get from them. You just have to find the right one.
To your success,
PS. If you’d like a little more help in picking an extra-curricular activity, try reading our article 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing An Extra-Curricular Activity.