Extracurricular activities are very beneficial for the development of our children, but we must choose the ones that they like, not us.
English, football, music, athletics, swimming, ballet, judo… Sometimes we load children with more extracurricular activities than we should . At the end of the day, our children are so tired that they end up asking us to take them off.
That is why it is important to find the balance between what we want them to do and what they like. We must also take into account the schedules so that they do not steal the time they need to do their homework, study and rest.
By that I do not mean that children should not do extracurricular activities. On the contrary, it has been shown that they are very beneficial for their development . But we do have to limit them and look for a suitable schedule.
In my case, my son goes to the extracurricular activities offered by his school during school hours (they do them in the time they have at noon, before or after the dining room). Thus, when he leaves school, he is already released. Now he has wanted to sign up for a new one, and as he has insisted, we have looked for space on Saturday mornings.
THE BENEFITS OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Whether they are leisure, artistic, sports or academic, extracurricular activities offer many benefits for children. In general, they help them develop their personality . More specifically, each type of activity provides a series of advantages.
- Sports : they are used to learn teamwork, help them improve their psychomotricity, they are good for channeling frustration and they know from a young age the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.
- Artistic : they improve their manual skills, they can express their feelings and develop their imagination.
- Reinforcement : they help to improve in studies . They are useful, above all, for those children who need to fix the concepts learned in class.
WHAT EXTRACURRICULARS TO CHOOSE
Having said this, I want to re-emphasize the importance of the child taking part in the decision about the classes he or she will attend outside of the school day. Not that I say it, I just echo what psychologists and therapists recommend. When choosing an extracurricular activity, a series of issues must be taken into account:
- The child has to go to class motivated, and for this it is necessary that he likes what he does. If you impose an activity on him, he will protest and will not get the most out of it. In the end, it is a waste of time and money.
- If your child is not very clear about why to opt, you can always ask the center, the academy or the gym to let him attend a trial class without having to pay.
- Choose activities based on your children’s abilities. If he doesn’t have an ear for music, maybe you should give up on him learning to play the piano.
- It is necessary to choose the most suitable extracurricular for each age . There are no rules in this regard, but it is known that children under 6 years of age respond better to drawing, painting or so-called “pre-sports” classes. In ballet and dance it is better to start as soon as possible (at 3 or 4 years), while for rhythmic gymnastics it is recommended to wait until 7 years.
- The character of each child must be taken into account. For example, for those who have difficulty relating, team sports are good for them . Is your son very shy? Drama, dance, or ballet can help. For nervous children, exercises that enhance their concentration are usually recommended . Chess, swimming or judo would be three good options.
- Although it is a reality that extracurricular activities serve to give us working parents a few hours of margin, they should not keep them busy more than three days a week . However, we parents are quick to notice when our children are overloaded. As soon as they start to show signs of exhaustion, it may be time to take some load off them.
- Ideally, the extracurricular activity should be different from school classes . If they need reinforcement classes, their tutor will surely notify you.
Aren’t there any extracurriculars that pique your child’s interest? Open the range of possibilities and do not limit yourself to the typical ones. Today you have a lot of resources available: programming, video game design, 3D design and printing, robotics, cooking, mindfulness, cinema, illustration and comics, music production, special effects… There are many options for extracurricular activities.