A new school year is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time to get our back-to-school checklists out. New shoes, lunch boxes, backpacks, uniforms, school supplies, and of course, a new set of personalised labels to ensure all of these new products actually make it home.
In addition to ticking off all things school, it’s also a good idea to look into extra-curricular activities and electives for your kids.
I know what you’re thinking. Extracurricular means extra time, extra fees, extra driving the kids here, there and everywhere and extra pressure to get up at 8.00am on a weekend for sporting games. Meh.
But hear us out. Sure, they require additional commitment from both you and your kids, but after-school activities can do a world of good. It can help children gain confidence, make new friends and give them a sense of responsibility. And that’s just the beginning!
Why Consider Extracurricular
Activities for your Kids Up the Extracurricular, up the Grades Many parents are worried that extra activities may cut into a child’s education. But this is not the case. There have been a number of studies that suggest children who participate in extracurricular activities actually do better in school.
The reason is because students learn a number of important skills through extracurricular activities that can benefit them in school too. These include time management and organisational skills, problem solving, persistence, teamwork and leadership skills.
Give Them a Sense of Purpose
We all love to feel accomplished. Children are no different. Giving them the chance to do something other than school – something that they are proud of – gives them an outlet, a goal and a purpose. It gives them something to get excited about and is proof that they are special.
This sense of purpose is so important for children. Not only can this lessen their risk of being bored, but it also boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
Improve Their Sense of Responsibility
Asking your kids to take the rubbish to the bin and make their bed is important, but there are other ways we can teach our kids the ever-important lesson of responsibility. Extracurricular activities are a great way to do so.
After all, once your child commits to a team, a club or even a term of lessons, that’s it. There’s no backing out. Children quickly learn they are a member of a network, that others are depending on them and that they made a commitment. This attitude will help them immensely in the future.
A New Social Network
Another great thing about extracurricular activities is that kids get introduced to like-minded kids who share the same passions as them. Teammates quickly become friends and often lifelong friends.
A World of Opportunities Down the Track
These activities may also open doors for your child down the road. Not only do extra-curricular activities look good on resumes and university applications, but may also introduce your child to different hobbies that could turn into a career.
Thinking Outside the Box
We often associate extracurricular activities with sport. Yes, there are heaps of sports that kids can play after school and on weekends – soccer, football, tennis, swimming, golf, mountain biking, athletics and martial arts, to name just a few. Some of these sports are just for fun while others allow kids to play games, win medals and even travel interstate or internationally for competitions.
But extracurricular activities envelop so much more than just sport. There are programs for kids who want to get involved in drama, painting, writing, music, and so much more. There are clubs for those passionate about blogging, volunteering, debating, film, gaming, geocaching, coding and even cosplay for those looking to take their love of costumes and performance art to the next level.
Honestly, there are so many options these days that never existed back when we were growing up and many that we’ve probably never even heard of.
So, How do you Find These Activities?
Check in with your Child’s School
See what programs they run throughout the year. Many schools will have a debate team, journalism club, choir, band and much, much more. As your child advances to high school, these opportunities increase.
Check the Extracurricular Activity Guide on Page 77
We have a list of different programs to consider, from dance programs to swimming lessons and everything in between.
Ask Around and Check Dr Google
Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Strike up a conversation with the parents at school or playgroup to see what their kids are doing or what they are considering. You can also do a quick Google search or Facebook group search to see if there are any clubs that may interest your child in your area. You may be surprised at what comes up.
Strike a Balance
Of course, too much of a good thing can actually be harmful for our kids. So, although looking into extracurricular activities is a good idea, try not to get too carried away. For many families, focusing on one or two after-school activities per child is just right. But, of course, this depends on your situation, the electives involved and the desires of your child.
The Bottom Line?
Giving your child a chance to pursue a passion is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Sure, it takes extra time, energy, effort, time management and planning, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Watching your child do something they love, whether it’s playing an instrument, performing in a play or pirouetting on stage, it is one of the most rewarding experiences for parents, and one that is sure to leave you dabbing away the happy pride tears.
So, invest some time into giving your kids the chance to try something new, explore their passion and let them shine.
Just be sure to also invest in some waterproof mascara for yourself as well.