12/30/2014 02:10 pm ET Updated Mar 05, 2015

I Don't Want a Smarter 3-Year-Old; I Just Want A 3-Year-Old

Krista Watts

I fell into a very deep trap. The trap that states you should put your children into anything and everything available. This list includes gymnastics, swimming, soccer, music, baby yoga, skating, dance and baseball, all before they reach the age of 4. I did it for many reasons, but the main one was I thought he would be smarter from all my efforts to engage him. What I didn't consider was that he might not actually like any of it.

Something changed a year ago for me and I decided that not only did I not like any of these activities, but neither did my son. He hated gymnastics, he ran around and yelled during music, he refused to go on the field for soccer, he cried at dance and he won't wear his hockey helmet.

I was always rushing him from one thing to another, sweating and struggling to get a reaction from him. I didn't actually like waking up for 9 a.m. swim classes on a Saturday morning or going to soccer on a Thursday night at dinner time. I actually like to eat dinner at home every night and I like to let Saturdays be a day to just stay home and be a family. My need to make sure my son was "having fun" also affected my family members. My parents would show up after my excited call that I put him into another activity to only see him struggle. I even forced my sister to take him to his first dance class, to which she promptly came back with a refund. They always said the same thing: He doesn't like it.

So I stopped. I stopped caring what everyone else was doing with their child. I stopped expecting that my son would want to participate and I just let him be 3 years old. Life became a whole lot calmer. And cheaper. We do things he actually enjoys like biking rides, walks with the dog and playing trains.

I wanted something to happen that was never going to happen. My son was perfectly content being with us at the park, at home or in our backyard. My expectations of him participating in things were way too high. I stopped caring about every study that popped up saying how much smarter and faster your children will be if they only did this, that and the other thing. I don't need him to be any smarter then 3 years old right now. There are some days he is smarter than my husband and me combined.

I learned to not rush anything but just let it happen because the time passes so fast and I longing wish to have it back. All the moments and milestones flash before parents eyes, so instead of force them -- enjoy them.

I just want him to be 3 years old right now. I'll worry about being 4 years old next year.