When You Should and Shouldn’t Let Your Kids Quit Extra-curricular Activities

At the beginning of the school year, everyone’s excited about all the possibilities. Lisa’s finally going to get a chance to make cheerleader, Aaron’s been practicing all summer so he can make varsity, and little Grace is wearing her new ballerina tutu everywhere she goes. As the mom, you’re all set. The white board calendar is hung, schedules are posted, and the SUV is decked out and gassed up. You and the family are ready to be champs!

A few weeks in, though, the whining starts. “My coach is mean!” “I’m too tired to practice piano.” “My friend says I’m too chubby to be a ballerina. I quit!”

Plus, it’s not exactly fun for you, either, sitting on those hard bleacher seats in the hot sun as your kid does his own bench warming. So when is it okay to let your kids quit extra curricular activities? And when should you make them stick out a bad experience?

Ultimately, you have to be the best judge as the parent, but here are some considerations.


Okay, you might not think this is a legitimate excuse to quit, but hear me out. If the activity is causing in-fighting, stress, sickness, bad eating habits, unsafe driving to get there on time, or a drop in grades due to increased pressure, then quitting might indeed be the right choice to make. After all, this is life you’re living, and no elective activity should make life miserable for everyone involved.


We’ve all seen those amazing athletes on TV who just push through the pain and go on to win the gold medal or run the marathon while limping though the finish line as blood pours from the bandages on their knees. But ignoring pain is a personal choice that those professionals might make in order to continue in their profession.

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