The Mommy Chronicles: Enrichment, or No? So Many Decisions to Make Featured

15 Aug 2019 Marlena Rice
Beaux William enjoying his favorite butter cream icing cookies from Chicken Salad Chick. Growing appetites can mean progress when it comes to our Littles being okay with trying new foods and buying hot lunch at school.  Beaux William enjoying his favorite butter cream icing cookies from Chicken Salad Chick. Growing appetites can mean progress when it comes to our Littles being okay with trying new foods and buying hot lunch at school.  Marlena Rice

With a son going into first grade this fall, my husband and I are learning quite a bit about options. Should our Little buy hot lunch, or bring a lunchbox from home? Do we feel safe with him riding the school bus? Should we come straight home and start our evening as a family early, or allow him to spend a few days after school participating in extended enrichment activities? Also, if we do decide on said enrichment activities, how often should we participate, should we stick to what our Little likes, or try something we think will be more beneficial in the long term?

Whew. 

With school right around the corner, I’m navigating through these decisions, and I’ve reached a few possible conclusions. 

 

A longer school day is not meant for every child.  

 

While taking Spanish lessons once a week or participating in a S.T.E.M. program can provide your child critical knowledge for the grades ahead, a longer school day may not mesh with every child’s personality. 

For younger children in kindergarten and first grade, who are transitioning from schooling programs that allowed nap time during the day, it could be challenging. Extending even one day each week for a couple of hours may not be worth the time and money spent if your child is going to be fussing and tired with a short attention span. 

Flip side? If your child is entering a new schooling system, or you’ve just moved to a new area, after school enrichment activities can provide a way to meet new, like-minded friends (and parents) all while stimulating your child academically. 

 

Hot lunch may provide opportunity for picky eaters to grow. 

During the summer, I have noticed a big change in my Little’s appetite. He’s trying new things and going back to old favorites. A huge reason I love sending a cold lunch from home is because I can see exactly what my Little did (or didn’t) eat when I check his lunchbox after school. This makes me feel good, because a huge mama worry of mine is my Little being hungry and away from me. This way, when he’s picked up after school and starts rummaging through the kitchen, I know if we’re hitting a growth spurt requiring more food – or if he’s just hungry from not eating at school. 

Flip side? I think many of us mamas know that our kiddos surprise us all the time, especially when something new is up for grabs and their friends are doing it. Like my little getting his food on a tray, with options for ice cream and fun snacks on some days. Plus, who can turn down cafeteria pizza? 

 

Bus riding may be a maturity tester.  

 

I don’t think my Little will ever be a bus rider. My husband has great stories from his childhood on the bus, which helps validate my decision. Of the three, this is probably the easiest decision for me because I like to know where my child is at all times. Meaning, if he is supposed to be in school, I need to physically watch him walk through the doors, after getting out of my car.  

However, with the boys in my house rooting for the bus, I may find myself not-so-stealthily trailing a big yellow box in the near future 

 

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Check out her blog at heartfullybuilt.com.  

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