Are you sick of your children watching T.V. all day? Sure, if they complete their responsibilities (homework, chores, etc.), there’s nothing wrong with them enjoying their free time. Technology is a great way to wind down after a busy day, and most children find it enjoyable.
However, there is such a thing as too much technology. Children are still developing and need to be constantly engaged. In this article, we outline some of the benefits of having your children participate in extracurriculars and provide examples of good ones to involve them in.
What the Research Says
According to research, children who participate in extracurricular activities gain significant benefits. For one, they learn new skills in an organized setting often led by some sort of instructor. This can improve their attention span and teach them to respect authority. Extracurriculars also foster commitment, dedication, and responsibility.
Furthermore, extracurriculars encourage social development. Whatever club, group, or class your child joins, they will be surrounded by peers. They’ll learn to interact with others their own age and even make new friends.
Perhaps most importantly, extracurriculars might even help your child find their passion early on. By starting young, they’ll have time to discover what it is they enjoy. They can even use this newfound passion to help them figure out what they want to do as an adult.
Don’t Force It
Don’t force your child to become active in something. This will cause them to feel pressured and not enjoy something as much as they could. At the end of the day, even though they have many practical benefits, extracurriculars should be fun.
You also shouldn’t push your child to do a particular activity. Just because you are passionate about music doesn’t mean your child will be, too. Any activity your child ends up choosing will be good for them, so make sure you support their choices.
Expose Them to a Variety of Activities
Exposing your children to a variety of activities will help them discover what they are actually interested in. Some extracurriculars your child might enjoy include:
- Sports teams. Soccer, basketball, football, tennis – you name it. Sports teams are especially great for the active child and teach them sportsmanship.
- Musical instruments. Music is fun for many kids and encourages cognitive thinking. You just have to make sure they have the right foundation to get started. If your child is interested in playing the drums, for instance, choosing the perfect drum set is important.
- Part-time job. This might not seem like much of an extracurricular, but a teenager might be interested in getting a part-time job. It’ll give them a sense of accomplishment and the opportunity to make their own money.
Finding the Right Organization
There are bound to be many local teams or clubs in your area, so make sure you choose the right one. Make sure that the staff is qualified and enthusiastic about engaging with your children.
Choose a location that is close enough to where you’ll be able to attend all the events. You should also consider the costs. Music lessons and team fees can add up, but putting your child in an extracurricular doesn’t have to be expensive.
Consider Your Child’s Age
Especially if your child is younger, it can be hard for them to know what they are interested in. They might also grow disinterested more quickly. Keep that in mind and encourage them to give everything a chance before deciding it’s not for them.
It’s often not enough to just enroll your child in an activity. You should be involved as much as you can. Practice at home with them and volunteer at events if appropriate. Your involvement will encourage them to stick with whatever activity is right for them.