AD | Collaborative post
Extracurriculars are a great way to enrich your child’s life, while building new skills and making new friends. These are activities that are often carried throughout their life as hobbies, passions or even careers! But with an incredible assortment of options, be it sports, music, dance, programming, or social work, it can be very difficult to find the right fit for your child.
Here are some of our recommendations on how to decide where to spend your time (and money).
Discover what your kid loves
Perhaps the most important aspect is finding what your child is interested in. First, start by talking it out; whether ranking the activities they are interested in or simply brainstorming ones they’d like to engage in, this can be a fruitful conversation.
Another aspect to remember is that one size doesn’t fit all. It is very probable that a younger sibling will try and emulate the oldest child, but try to ensure there is space for them to find their own hobbies. Finally, if your child is too young to know what they’re interested in, try out a bunch of different activities! Whether it’s through an all-sports camp or multi-instrument music class, it’s a great way for them to investigate and discover their likes and dislikes.
Long-term benefits of the activity
But of course, time is limited, and you and your child do need to decide which is the best use of their time. Therefore, another consideration is what the long-term benefits of the activity are. Sports are great for their health and team-building skills.
Learning instruments has proven to improve numerical ability in children, as well as teaching the benefit of practice and patience. Art, drama and dance can all help build motor skills and creativity. While all activities can have benefits for your child, it is important to see which one fits best with your child’s needs and skills.
Another way to ensure the long-term benefits is to mix up different fields. If your child is already doing football and basketball, do they really need to add tennis? Or would they benefit from art or drama?
Thus, you can maximize the benefits by stimulating different parts of the brain.
How to find the balance between extracurriculars and studies
Another balance that is essential is between their schoolwork and extracurriculars.
“There is no magical number about how many hours of extracurriculars a child should be doing, so one way to check your child’s bandwidth is to start small, and then add on. Maybe begin with just one or two activities, and based on their interests and school work, they can increase the hours on extracurricular activities.” Says Ms. Ceclia Ng, Center Director of Tutor Time International Nursery and Kindergarten.
Also, please don’t forget about leisure time! It can be tempting to fill up their schedule but it is important for kids to be able to relax, whether it’s family time, playdates or even TV time!
A holistic, all-rounded schedule can help reduce the pressure that children feel and pave the way for work-life balance as they mature.
Budget for the activities
Finally, as much as you want to provide anything and everything your child desires, we all have our constraints, in both time and money. You want to ensure that it is sustainable to fund activities in the long term, so start with just a few and see how it pans out.
Moreover, if the activity is far from your home, it will eat up both time and money, so try enrolling them in activities that are close to school or home. If your child is truly passionate about something that might be a bit of a stretch budget-wise, involve them in the decision. They will learn the opportunity cost of various activities and begin to understand budgeting. Another trick if your child is desperate to try a certain activity that is expensive or far away – sign them up for a summer course!
These are shorter, and there are usually great deals for holiday camps.
It can seem overwhelming when you want to offer your child the best opportunities, not only to have great experiences and learn new skills, but also to prepare them for college apps. The best way to choose extracurricular activities is to listen to your child and explore together!