By GG, aged 6

I am quite a busy girl. Aside from the fact that Mummy commandeers an unreasonable amount of my leisure time for such activities as clearing the table, putting my shoes away, brushing my teeth, and going to the toilet before we leave the house, I also have quite a number of other commitments to keep up with. For starters, I am attempting a school record for how many playdates I can fit into just half a term. So far I’m doing quite well, although the Bug has recently started adding his own social engagements to the diary, which has left our poor PA (aka Mummy) struggling on occasion to keep up. She claims she forgets things because she has to organise the lives of 3 and a half people (Daddy obviously can’t be held responsible for all his own endeavors!). I put it down to age.

Play is important!
In addition, I have to learn to swim, tidy my room, watch TV, go to parties, and jump on the trampoline. Then there’s homework. I get 3 books a week, along with sporadic projects involving internet research. That’s my favourite assignment, as it quickly evolves into in-depth explorations of the Club Penguin or Disney websites, and we all know how much time we ‘absolutely neeeeeeeed…’ to spend on that! Add to all that the fact that I still haven’t yet read all 125 Rainbow Magic Fairy books (as listed on Wikipedia), and you will understand that I have very little spare time on my hands.

"extra-curricular activities"

Extra-curricular:
Imagine my surprise then, when I learn that I am not doing enough! According to a study referenced in the Sunday Times last weekend (27, March, main section p.15 ‘Mum, extra classes hurt my grades’ by Rosie Kinchen) I am not doing enough extra-curricular activity to maximise my stupendous potential. Apparently, it only takes one hour a week of organised activity outside of school for children to start getting better results in the classroom. Well, tick; my piano and tap lessons take care of that. But in order to achieve the absolute best academic results, I’m supposed to spend 13 hours a week engaged in some kind of club, lesson or group enterprise (and that doesn’t include the Wii, or ‘negotiating’ territory with the Bug!). No wonder I’m struggling to remember all my full stops in school; I don’t have enough hobbies!

Now, Daddy is extremely competitive and will not cope well with hearing that I am less than perfect in any domain, so he is the best person to tackle on this score. I expect that if I have a quiet word at bedtime tonight, Mummy will be forced to sign me up for all 5 of the dance classes I have been nagging her about, as well as every single holiday club I’ve seen advertised in our local Family magazines. If I word things especially well, I may even get the clarinet and violin that are currently on my Christmas wish list. Maybe I should mention the puppy again too…

"Clarinet"

Interestingly, once you get past 17 hours a week of hobbies, results start to decline.* I should think so; that would eat dramatically into the amount of time Mummy allocates for sleep!

*The study is based on the grades of 15 and 16-year-olds, who clearly don’t need the sleep of a 6-year-old, so this post is largely tongue-in-cheek! See the following link for the full report in the Sunday Times. 

http://thetim.es/h0UGtp