With the best of intentions, we shuttle our children to church, ballet lessons, football games and more. Then as our children get older and are in high school, they often add the responsibilities of school clubs and jobs.
We strongly believe they should be involved in extra curricular activities. Our goal is to create happy, well adjusted adults, by exposing our children to as many activities as possible. We live in a very fast paced and competitive world. We’re all in a race to get somewhere fast.
I’ve heard many parents say they want to provide their children will lots of enrichment and opportunities to ensure they’ll be able to compete in today’s world.
Isn’t this age-old proverb rightly put? A student’s school days are some of the best days of his life. These days can never be complete without a little bit of sporty excitement, a bit of adventure and the crazy strokes of a painting class. Some of the best talents around the world, attribute their extra curricular activities as the roots of their academic and career success.
Extra curricular activities have many benefits for children and teenagers alike. They help kids explore their physical, creative, and social potential. They allow kids to find out where their career or political interests may lie. Some activities, such as volunteer work, allow kids to experience how their time and effort benefits others in need.
There are various types of extracurricular activities students can get involved in. The two main categories are – academic and athletic. We have divided our extracurricular activities’ list into these two categories. Take a look….
Academic Extra-curricular Activities
But sometimes in today’s world we let our kids get overbooked in sports, school activities,and after-school jobs. When is it too much?
And does this mean children should never participate in extra-curricular activities? Of course not. There is much to be gained by being part of a team, or learning how to dance or skate or sing or play a sport. We just want to examine if in the long run our kids might be paying a price if their week is full of structured, extra-curricular activities.
What are they missing out on in the process? We need to remember that over scheduling can affect your family life, too, so consider the demands on your own time. Keep in mind what will be expected of you when your child begins a new activity. This will include time and transportation, obviously. But it can also mean volunteering, fundraising, and coaching.
We have to remember that sometimes Kids need time to just be Kids. But parents also tend to compare their children with those of their friends. “There’s definitely an element of keeping up with the Jones’s . It puts us wanting to both bring out the best of our kids, but also wanting to compete with the neighbors next door whose kids are already doing Suzuki violin. And they are already on the elite gymnastics squad and you feel left out!”
In efforts to ensure their children’s success in life, parents seek out every available opportunity for enrichment, whether that is on the athletic field, a stage or concert hall, or even on the playground.
Believing in the adage “idle hands make the Devil’s work,” parents feel they can keep their children out of trouble if they just keep them busy enough. But all this over-scheduling can lead to kids who don’t know what to do with free time once they have it, and occasionally, other serious problems.
Pediatrician Lisa Thornton advises parents to allow their children down time to play, draw, and explore. ” Kids need time to daydream and think and be creative and make up games. When everything’s constantly scheduled, they don’t do that, so creativity is not as spontaneous.”
They and you need time just to be. Downtime helps kids recharge emotionally and physically, so they’re ready for the activities they and you have prioritized. Likewise, having some downtime in each day can help your kids avoid burnout with the activities they do enjoy.
When kids can really look forward to their activities rather than rushing from one thing to another, they get more enjoyment from it all, and so will you.
How can you tell if your kids are over scheduled with extracurricular activities? Kids can and do participate in so many activities. But too many extra curriculars on top of school can spell o-v-e-r-w-o-r-k-e-d for the child.
How many activities are too many? School counselors across the country are reporting that more and more students involved in extra-curricular activities are on “overload” and becoming stressed out.
I’ve have always believed you should give your children every opportunity you possibly can when it comes to out of school activities I guess like many parents I believe, you learn and grow through opportunities.
Do your kids have this kind of Overload??
- Hockey practice- 5:30 a.m.
- Cramming for a final exam- 7:00 a.m.
- Presenting a science power point assignment- 8:45 a.m.
- Joining the advance geometry study group- 10:25 a.m.
- Lunch with 800 other students- 11:45 a.m.
- Auditioning for the select choir- 12:30 p.m.
- Reporting cell phone stolen- 1:25 p.m.
- Missing English class- 2:15 p.m.
- Hockey endurance training- 2:45 p.m.
- Meet with boyfriend- 5:00 p.m.
- Miss super- 6:00 p.m.
- Piano lesson- 7:00 p.m.
- Homework 8:30 p.m.
- Instant messaging time with friends- 10:45 p.m.
- Bedtime- 12:30 a.m.
- Hockey practice- 5:30 a.m. and, here we go again!
- Us as parents to take a good look at the lives of our children. We all know a kid like this: the one who gets off the school bus and goes straight to soccer practice, eats a take-out dinner in the car on the way to Scouts or chess, and gets back home just in time to fall into bed at 10PM.
But just like when your computer gets overloaded, a message flashes across your screen, “Disk full,” warning signs of stress let you know when your child has overloaded. We need to remember that they’re called extracurricular activities because they’re extra.
Your child’s No. 1 priority must be schoolwork, so don’t hesitate to make continued participation in sports or clubs contingent on maintaining a minimum standard of academic performance.
Once your child has joined an activity, if they feel stressed out, they will need to reconsider. It’s important to keep a balance between schoolwork, extracurricular activities, a job, social life, and your health. If they have joined a club and need to quit for any reason, they need to talk with the Advisor or Coach.
They should be direct and polite and explain their situation and feelings. Sometimes it’s just not the right match for them or it’s too time-consuming. Perhaps you can participate in a less time-consuming way or rejoin later.
They will not be helping themselves or the group if they frantically do homework during a competition or fall asleep during practice. Saying “no” can be the most mature and responsible thing to do.
Parents need to be on the look out for symptoms such as:
- Feelings of dejection
- Inability to concentrate or sleep often emanates from overscheduling and relentlessly intense weekly schedules, pressure to excel, or a combination of both
- Uncharacteristic tantrums
- Headaches and stomachaches
- Loss of appetite
- Stress or depression
- Uncharacteristic tantrums
- Headaches and stomachaches
- Loss of appetite
- Stress or depression
If your child dreads going to an activity or practice, this should raise an immediate red flag.
Mary Ostyn, mother of 10 children and author of “A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family,” says that her children are each allowed one activity per season, plus swim lessons and music lessons — but only if they are interested in them.
“Interest is so important–I look for activities that kids are passionate about, that don’t go beyond our budget, and (ideally) that allow other siblings to do something enjoyable at the same time.
For example, activities at our local rec center are great. Instead of just sitting waiting, kids (and parents) can swim or run the track while other kids do swim lessons or gymnastics,” says Mary. ” A sense of personal accomplishment can be achieved when a child master a skill such as learning a new stroke in swimming or making it to the next belt level in karate.
Maintaining a balance between family time and activity time is important, Mary says. “More often with our particular family it is mom who gets overworked. As wonderful as all the various activities sound, we have to remember that mom’s sanity is an important commodity,” says Mary.
Lastly, extra-curricular activities may reduce drug and alcohol abuse not only by giving kids a place to go instead of an empty home or wandering the streets, but also by giving them the motivation and sense of purpose to say “no.”
Parents who participate with their child may even find that they grow closer as they share conversation about their child’s interests
Childhood is a time of exploration. Extra-curricular activities help children discover the world. Kids still must have time to be kids and enjoy life. Watch for signs of extra-curricular activity overload in your busy child and intervene when necessary for his or her well-being.
It can take some time to find the extracurricular activity which best fits both a parent’s lifestyle and a child’s interests. A child should never be pressured to join as many activities as possible for the sake of college applications or their parent’s priorities.
Remember everyone needs downtime. If an activity adds lots of stress to your life, it’s not for you.
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