Let Keiki Find Their Own Passion

Hana, age 3. Ready for ballet class? If the tutu fits ... Tannya Joaquin photo

Hana, age 3. Ready for ballet class? If the tutu fits … Tannya Joaquin photo

I’ve pictured the day I could enroll my daughter in dance classes since … well, in 2011 when I first found out I was having a girl.

From ballet to hula, I’ve had visions of tulle tutus and petite pa’u skirts for my little dancing queen. I grew up taking ballet and tap lessons, and recognized my daughter’s early love of music, rhythm and movement.

It’s not a stretch to say I’ve been counting down the years then days until her third birthday. Many classes start at age 3, so I’ve kept a mental note that when the time came, we’d be all in.

Plus, when I recently brought up the subject of ballet, my too-mature-for-her-age daughter told me in a matter-of-fact tone, “Mommy, everybody do ballet.”

Well, she has a point. Apparently, I’m not the only mom eager to see her princess doing plies and pirouettes. But before I get too far ahead and cast her as a soloist in the Nutcracker, I gave myself a time out.

I’m a firm believer in exposing my children to different arts, activities, sports and experiences, and letting them choose their passion. But at the same time, I don’t want to overdo it.

There have been many national reports warning about “overscheduling” children. Doctors, child psychologists and teachers raised concerns about stress brought on because kids weren’t getting a breather.

Well-intentioned parents were packing their kids’ days with so many extra-curricular activities, they were experiencing the same stress-related problems as adults.

Those visions of seeing my daughter at dance recitals suddenly shifted to thoughts of time in the car bouncing from one lesson to another. I’ve heard a little about this from my sister. She has four children and four schedules to coordinate with her husband.

In their case, it’s volleyball, fencing, martial arts, basketball, swimming — and the list goes on. Even the best organizer will run into scheduling conflicts in a family of six, so she’s now looking to hire someone to help shuttle her kids around.

Of course, she loves seeing her children thrive with their chosen activities, so they’re making it work.

I will, too, if my daughter loves dance classes. I just want to remember the motivation and not get caught in a parent trap.

I’ve noticed, on weekends, when we have back-to-back activities, the kids hit the wall. The last thing I want to do is to bog down their schedule and cause stress — for them or me.

But first things first, time to sign up.