Sign Me Up!: The Parents' Complete Guide to Sports, Activities, Music Lessons, Dance Classes, and Other Extracurriculars

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Sign Me Up!: The Parents' Complete Guide to Sports, Activities, Music Lessons, Dance Classes, and Other Extracurriculars [Paperback]

Stacy M. DeBroff
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews Review

Stacy DeBroff offers hope and help for parents with a child whose schedule resembles a Stanley Kaplan cram course. Sign Me Up offers a sane alternative, urging parents to use extracurricular activities to find a child’s "sweet spot--and unlock their true potential." Her first step is nailing parent peer pressure. As she explains,"the question what do you do for work? has been replaced by asking what activities does your child do?" DeBroff offers wise counsel for holding your ground and choosing activities to help your child develop and mature, rather than packaging them for college applications. She establishes a balance between the goals of activity (discipline, self-discovery) and the value of downtime (spontaneity, self-motivation). Her advice features quotes from parents and coaches, and focuses on the details of hundreds of family friendly choices including lacrosse, chess, ballet, archery, drumming, and cartooning. Each activity is explored in terms of time, cost, competition and fit with a child’s temperament and skills. Debroff also includes smart ideas about thorny issues such as how to be a spectator and what to do when your child wants to quit. This excellent book would have been strengthened with more details about volunteering and community activities outside of scouting. If after-school activity is about enriching maturity, DeBroff might encourage parents to sign up their children to help repair the world. --Barbara Mackoff

From Booklist

DeBroff talked to more than 500 parents, coaches, and instructors to produce this comprehensive guide to the dizzying array of activities, classes, and extracurricular programs available for children. She provides an overview of how we got to the point of having children's every waking hour scheduled for some kind of activity, and how to manage the demands on time. DeBroff offers advice, based on a child's age, temperament, and skill level, about how to select activities and what to expect in terms of physical development, team dynamics, sportsmanship, social skills, and a sense of competition. There are chapters on sports, arts and performing arts, intellectual and community activities, and foreign-language and chess programs. She includes details such as advantages and disadvantages, costs, and best age to start. DeBroff also wisely advises parents to include some downtime for unstructured play. Parents, teachers, and coaches will appreciate this comprehensive resource. Vanessa Bush
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Mimi Doe author of Busy but Balanced and founder of In this frenetic day and age when most parents don't have time to brush their teeth, let alone figure out the best sports and activities for their kids, Stacy DeBroff is a parent's dream. Accessible, savvy, and concise, Sign Me Up! is one of the best tools out there for helping familes to create busy but balanced lives.

Brad Sachs, Ph.D. author of The Good Enough Child: How to Have an Imperfect Family and Be Perfectly Satisfied In this thorough, well-organized, and highly readable book, parents can learn how to create meaningful balance in their children's lives. Stacy DeBroff guides parents through the maze of extracurricular programs, provides them with solutions to predictable problems and dilemmas, and helps them establish reasonable expectations. Sign Me Up! is a comprehensive reference that every family will find to be relevant, reassuring, and immensely valuable.

Andrée Aelion Brooks author of the award-winning book Children of Fast Track Parents An indispensable guide for today's busy parents eager to understand the pros and cons of the profusion of extracurricular activities that are overwhelming our children's lives.

Kathy Peel author of The Family Manager Takes Charge: Getting on the Fast Track to a Happy, Organized Home Full of hands-on, practical tips, this book helps parents discover which activities are in harmony with their child's unique personality and talents. A wonderful resource that helps reduce fretting and frustration in every family.

About the Author

Stacy M. DeBroff is author of The Mom Book and coauthor of Mom Central: The Ultimate Family Organizer. The ultimate insider for advice, tips, and information, Stacy has won the loyalty of moms across America. She is the founder and president of, a premier website for moms, and publishes the monthly Mom Central newsletter. Prior to becoming a parenting author, Stacy founded and directed the Office of Public Interest as a lawyer at Harvard Law School from 1990 to 1998. The mother of two young children, Stacy lives in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
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