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Rica Peralejo on Enrichment Classes: Don't Make It a Chore. Let Your Kids Enjoy It!
PHOTO BY @ricaperalejo on Instagram and Instagram Stories
  • Having summer classes used to mean that a child was behind in his academics, but it's not how it's seen anymore. Many enroll their kids in summer enrichment programs — for arts, dance, cooking and yes, even academics — to keep the little ones busy (but boredom can be a good thing!) and make sure they don't get behind in their lessons. But your fears of summer slide shouldn't put undue pressure on your kids just because of what society dictates as success.

    Soon-to-be mom of two Rica Peralejo Bonifacio puts it this way: "These days there is a false pressure put on parents to make their kids ahead of everybody else," Rica wrote on Instagram. "It works if the child is actually ready, if the child actually wants to advance him or herself in some form of education."

    You don't want your kids to experience burnout. "Playing an instrument, sports, an academic subject, painting, have somehow become more of a chore, a work, rather than a joy for them," Rica wrote. "Even more painful is that it has also become more about the pursuit and ambition of others than their own."

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    To illustrate her point, Rica shared a story about her 5-year-old son Philip, whom she and her husband Pastor Joseph Bonifacio enrolled in a futsal sports program a year and a half ago. He finished it but didn't really get his head into the game, so to speak.

    "When the culminating thing came, we kept laughing at how he stayed outside the nets and ran around the garden and did everything he could not to stay in the game," Rica wrote on Instagram.

    The preggo mom pointed out how other parents might see it as a waste of summer school time and expense when the kid emerges from it untrained.

    Philip was only 3 years old back then. "Developmentally, he should really only be playing and not taking a sport so seriously!" Rica stressed.

    "Whether you become a futbol star or not, what matters more is that we both love egg, tuyo, catsup, and avocado with muscovado sugar and almond milk," Rica writes to her son Philip.
    PHOTO BY screenshots from @ricaperalejo/Instagram Stories
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    This summer, it was Philip who asked to join the futbol class to Rica's surprise. She thought her son didn't like to play sports at all, but Rica pointed out how her son showed diligence and enthusiasm for the game.

    "I now see the value, for today, my son has no distaste for the sport whatsoever. I surmise it is because he was never forced or pressured to perform back when he wasn’t ready," Rica added.

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    Paula Peralejo Fernandez (@mama_the_explorer on Instagram) agreed with her sister, citing a mom who enrolled her kids in swim school and expected the lessons to be intensive formal training. But she saw that the children seemed to be just playing in the water. But the swim class's goal was to allow children to be comfortable and like the water.

    "Because the goal is different and it makes a difference," Paula, mom to 2-year-old son Pablo, wrote in the comments of Rica's post. "I believe that's also what was seeded in Philip. Process over product, own learning over competition," the younger Perelejo sister added.

    Paula Peralejo agreed with her sister Rica: "Process over product, own learning over competition." 
    PHOTO BY screenshots from @ricaperalejo/Instagram

    "Our children have their own and unique gifts from God," Rica emphasized. "Trust that every child comes with some dose of greatness...because God has a plan and a purpose and a timing for him!"

    Focusing too much on performance, achievement, and competition may just do the opposite and derail your child's development and path to his passion and success. One mom shared another mom's mantra in raising her kids, which Rica found beautiful as well: "Heaven not Harvard." It's a nice and apt reminder amid today's busy and cluttered life.

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