Share Your Advice on Lessons


Today’s post is more me asking for help than me sharing tips or favorites. You see, my children are 1 and 3 and I’ve started to think through the upcoming years … our school plans, vacations when we don’t have to cart along diapers, future siblings, those sort of things. But mostly, I’ve been thinking through lessons.

My oldest is 3 and is in preschool this year and from the sounds of it, many of these kiddos are starting lessons already – soccer and ballet, even piano. Now, I know that many stars are quoted saying that they found their talents at young ages, but 3? That’s just 36 months, ya’ll! Is that the going age to start trying out various activities?

So, parents of preschoolers and elementary school age children, these are my questions:

  1. When did your child(ren) begin lessons?
  2. How did you decide what they enrolled in?
  3. Do they participate in something year round or just occasionally?
  4. How do you fit practices and recitals, games and meetings into your family schedule? Do you have limits?

Of course, I want everything for my children. If they fall in love with tap dancing, I’ll listen to hours of their practicing. And if they choose to play football, I’ll sit out in the rain cheering them on through every yard they run. But when to start? How much time, money and energy to invest? Where to draw the line and how to gently guide their interests? That’s what I’m still thinking through. So mamas who have gone before me, mentor me in your ways. Let’s talk lessons today and I’ll send a big thank you and virtual hug your way!

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Gretchen hails from the beautiful Pacific Northwest along with her husband and two young children. Before transitioning to life as a stay at home mom, Gretchen worked in sales and marketing while earning her Masters in Management and Organizational Leadership. Now her days are focused on managing meal plans and nap times while organizing her sewing stash and children's toy bins. My oh my, how life changes in the blink of an eye! Gretchen writes frequently about natural parenting, becoming more environmentally conscience, her affinity for thrifted treasures, and hopes of making it out of yoga pants each day on her blog That Mama Gretchen (

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12 Comments on "Share Your Advice on Lessons"

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I am not sure there is a right or wrong answer. It is whatever fits your family schedule and your child. I felt pressure to sign Bishop up for things starting at about 2.5. We did a little sports class that some days he liked and other days he would frustrate us that he wouldn’t participate when we knew he could and would do it all the time at home. Then we thought maybe it was too overwhelming learning multi sports so we should narrow it down to one. We did soccer because he loved soccer at home. Again we… Read more »

Thank you so much for all chiming in! I loved reading over your schedules and so appreciate you sharing your family’s plan/schedules/etc.!


As a music teacher, I will tell you that music lessons should start no earlier than age four. Exploratory Music classes (like mommy and me classes) before that are more appropriate. 🙂


Free unstructured play is the best thing for children under 7. Resist the pressure to keep up with the jones’s! Trust that your child will learn a tremendous amount if left to discover their own talents.

With my daughter we let her decide when and what. So when she was in preschool we let her try ballet and tap, that lasted a month and she was bored out of her mind. So I pulled her, no sense in paying 80 bucks a month to make a 5 year old cry. Next we did soccer, just the fun fair positive soccer, we learned she isn’t very coordinated and had a temper, great goalie though. Now we are on to cheerleading but through upwards, a Christian organization, they just cheer for the game in progress. She loves running… Read more »
Katy Petrie
My son is currently 4 and is taking his first lessons. He is taking Martial Arts. We found a fantastic program aimed specifically for 3-5 year olds. We were very lucky to score a free trial class, which gave us the chance to see how he would do in that setting. He thrived, we decided to write the check. He loves it. My daughter is 2.5 and is the most flexible kid I have ever met. I have always wanted to do gymnastics, so when I stumbled across a Mommy & Me gymnastics class I jumped on the chance. So… Read more »
Janelle Thietje-Dunn
We homeschool our 6 kiddos & have vacillated back and forth from all to nothing as far as lessons, sports, etc. There are still times we bite off more than we can chew, but I think we’ve finally come to a place of some balance. We didn’t start our oldest in organized activities until he was 8 – for him, that was perfect, because he has some significant attention deficit, and needed a bit of maturity before I felt like I could leave him with others successfully . Our next 2, were around 4. Currently, our 5 yr old is… Read more »
My 4 year old has been doing gymnastics since just before her 3rd birthday. We started her in gymnastics because she was always jumping and flipping off of things so it seemed like a good fit. She has class once a week and in the summer she did a summer class that consisted of 5 half days. She also goes to preschool but the gymnastics place has a schedule to accommodate most people. Financially things got right for us this last year and we had to stop going and my daughter has been asking when she can go back, which… Read more »
Alesha weber Brandt
We started our daughter in dance when she was 2 and now at 4 she absolutely loves it! She is constantly dancing around the house! We tried soccer at 3 and she didnt like it so when the 6 week season was up we were done. She asked to try tball last year so we let her and she loved it. We will do it again in the spring! She also just started gymnastics and loves that! We let her be the decision maker in what she does! Most of the activities we have done are through the city’s parks… Read more »
I would like to point out that you are neither a good or bad mom weather you start your kid out young at lessons. I hate that i feel this pressure to put my kids in activities and lessons at a young age or i’m not a good mom. Our kids need us more then they need to learn to tap or whatever. My kids get to do a once a week thing around 3, but only if they are interested. I do intend on my kids all learning piano, but will not start them until they are at least… Read more »
Stacia Ehlen
I have a two year old and she has been attending The Little Gym since she was 6 months old. She really enjoys it. We’ve also recently put her in swimming lessons, and I started Mommy & Me dance class in August. She likes most of the activities, but hates the tap dance portion of dance class so we just sit out. It’s been fun watching her develop and learn (waiting in line is tough!). I stay at home, and all of her activities are in the morning. I feel like I’ve overloaded her, and I plan to eliminate some… Read more »
Rebecca j
I’m a stay at home mom to my 4.5yo and we put her in soccer last season. This year we put her in gymnastics and ballet b/c one of her friends said they were going to too. She loves gymnastics but not so much ballet, she’s made that clear that she’s be willing to give up ballet for soccer even though we told her she could do all 3 if she wanted. Right now she’s got to stay in b/c we already paid for her costume and recital fees months ago haha! I have always planned to homeschool her so… Read more »