Finding an area of interest or hobby is important for a child’s development. It allows kids to explore their creative, social, physical, and even their potential career interests with people who share the same passion and interest for a particular activity.
However, when most people think about extracurricular activities, they think about the common activities that most kids are part of – sports teams, gymnastics, scouts, etc.
While these are all great activities, there are so many more fun, entertaining, active, and educational extracurricular activities that you could introduce to your children. There is truly something for everyone – you just may need to try out a few activities to find the one your child is passionate about and activities that fit and balance well with other aspects of your life.
Why Get Your Kids Involved in Extracurricular Activities?
- Trying out different interests
- Learning about commitment and dedication
- Learning time management and prioritization skills
- Increasing self esteem
- Developing social relationships outside of school
- Enhancing your child’s resume and college application
- Expanding networking or career opportunities in the future
Great Educational Extracurricular Activities
There are many extracurricular options beyond the obvious. Here are just some of the many options you can explore with your child:
- Music – band, vocals, choir
- Science, math, computer club
- Debate club
- Robotics clubs
- Reading club
- Environmental groups
- Student government
- Junior Achievement
- Volunteering with local charities
- Tutoring classmates
- Engaging in these educational activities not only allow your child to explore their interests, it will also help them develop mentally, add new skills, and become a more confident person.
How Much Is Too Much? Three Signs Your Children Are Too Busy
Getting your kids involved in extracurricular activities is important, but as parents, we need to be conscious that we don’t sign them up for too much. Kids still need to be kids and have enough time to do kid things – like hang out with their friends and play at the park.
Overscheduling has become a particular issue that has caught the attention of many educators and doctors as of late – something that could lead to health issues. Here are some of the common signs that your child is overscheduled:
- They are always tired, irritable and seem stressed
- They are falling behind in school work, and their grades begin to slip
- They start losing interest in things they once enjoyed – they don’t want to go to practice, they aren’t having fun, they want to quit
Five Tips for Busy Parents (and Kids)
Between work, school for the kids, after school activities, and your own activities (including being a parent), it can be tough to keep everything on track. Here are some great tips to help keep busy parents organized:
- Set a limit: Agree ahead of time on how many programs or activities a child can sign up for per season.
- Know the time commitment before signing up: Find out total time commitments, including practice(s), at-home self-study or practice requirements, games, events, etc.
- Stay organized: Keep a calendar to ensure the family is organized.
- Schedule family time: Family time is often the first thing that gets forgotten when you get busy. Make sure to schedule family time along with other activities and commitments.
- Set priorities: School always comes first. Remind your children of this and make sure to focus on your top priorities.
Extracurricular activities are a great way to get your kids involved, active, and learn new skills. The key is to let them try a variety of activities in order to find their passion.