How to Choose Extracurricular Activities for Your Child
If you are looking to enroll your child in after school activities, the options are numerous. Extracurricular activities for kids are extremely popular among parents looking to broaden their children’s horizons or even enhance a college application. With choices from sports to art classes, music lessons to drama clubs, cooking, martial arts and beyond, choosing the right activities for your child can be confusing or complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
Interests and Talent
First of all, start by listening to your child. More often than not, they will ask to join a specific extracurricular activity, or they will at least show interest in specific activities or hobbies. If you are looking to get them out of their comfort zone, choose something that you think they will enjoy or in which they will excel. In the same vein, assess your child’s talents if you’re looking for an extracurricular activity to become a long-term skill. Of course, skills can always be learned, but choosing an activity that plays to their strengths is likely to help them excel and feel successful.
Logistics and Affordability
Most extracurricular activities aren’t free, and some are quite expensive. Certain sports often require specific gear, and class and supply fees can add up fast. Oftentimes, extracurricular activities through your child’s school or a local municipality are less expensive than if you sign up through a private company. In addition, the logistics of getting kids to and from activities can also be difficult for parents, especially working parents, so be sure that you can either pick up on time or arrange for transportation.
Overscheduling and Overload
Letting your child try several activities is a great way to broaden their horizons, reduce screen time, and gauge their interests and talents. Conversely, overscheduling your child with too many activities can result in him or her becoming over-tired, frustrated with homework obligations, and less likely to actually enjoy the extracurriculars. Always remember that your child’s first obligation is school, so participation in clubs, activities and sports should be chosen that leave time for play or unstructured activities, as well as family time and overall balance in their life.
Extracurricular activities are an important part of child and adolescent development and can be instrumental in helping your child make friends, learn new skills and possibly even determine lifelong passions. Be sure to choose activities that won’t take over your family’s life, but that will enhance your child’s life. Whether they choose performing arts, a STEM club, a team sport or something altogether different, if your child enjoys the activities, it will be time and money well spent.