Your Children and Extracurriculars: 5 Tips
You want your kids to perform well in school, but extracurricular activities remain important. Whether your child is interested in dance, karate, art, music, sports, or some other activity, you can nurture this interest and encourage your child to spread his or her wings.
Just because your child expresses an interest in extracurricular activities doesn't mean they will turn into a lifelong passion. Kids often develop fleeting fascinations with certain activities, then quickly lose interest. Start small in terms of time and monetary investment.
In other words, don't spend thousands of dollars on equipment, lessons, competitions, and other bells and whistles until you know your child has created a commitment to the activity. Encourage your child to try different things so he or she is aware of all the options.
Anticipate the Honeymoon Period
Great Schools asserts that all kids experience a honeymoon period in extracurricular activities. At first, the sport or hobby is bright, shiny, and new, but it eventually loses its luster as your child realizes how much work is involved. This is why many kids will want to quit extracurriculars after a few weeks or months.
Creating goals can help your child through the end of the honeymoon period. If, after putting in the practice, your child still wants to quit, you might want to consider pursuing a different activity.
Look for Unique Options
Some children don't express an interest in the typical extracurricular activities, such as sports and musical instruments. Writing for Scholastic magazine, Margaret Hargrove and Christina Vercelletto recommend several unique extracurriculars, such as archery, fencing, and chess.
Kids like knowing that they're the only one among their peers who knows how to do something. A unique after-school activity can give your child a sense of independence and pride, especially if he or she struggles in school or lacks social skills.
Focus on Fun (But Don't Ignore Other Benefits)
Extracurricular activities can engage your child's sense of play and whimsy, but they also offer other benefits. For instance, playing a music instrument can teach children to control their emotions and even promote brain activity. Similarly, sports and other competitive activities teach kids a sense of fair play.
Recognize Red Flags
Especially for older kids, extracurricular activities can quickly spin out of control. If your child's grades start to slip or if you notice negative changes in his or her behavior, consider backing off the extracurriculars. You don't want your child to get better at a sport or hobby at the expense of his or her health and well-being.
Additionally, monitor your child's performance carefully. If your son or daughter reaches the end of his or her physical limitations, you might need to intervene.
Sometimes, refocusing or redirecting your child's attention and interests can help avoid this problem, especially if coaches or teachers are the primary problem.
Extracurricular activities are essential for your child's growth and development. Choosing the right activities and keeping an eye on the situation will allow your child to get the most out of these activities.