As you get back into the swing of things and the excitement of the new school year begins to calm, the requests for extra-curricular activities begin to roll in. How do you know how much is too much, when signing up for extra-curricular activities? How can you tell where their talents lay?
Let your children take the lead
If your children are asking for specific programs, let them lead the way. Don’t push them into your favorites… you should probably wait for them to signal their own readiness to try something new. I always thought that my daughter would be a terrific ballerina, but when she got to the dance studio, decked out in her adorable ballet outfit, she always sat on the sides — she really didn’t want to be there, nor did she feel comfortable.
If you see that your child is talented in a specific area, hone in on it. And if you see your child kicking and screaming at even the mention of going to a certain program, it is probably best to veer away. With that said, sometimes it’s the program that isn’t the best fit, not the activity. Last year, I took my son to skating and each week was a fight. He is so determined to play hockey, so I had to give skating lessons another try. This year, we tried a different skating school and he is a different kid! He looks forward to going every week and we can already see the improvement in his skills. Every program and teacher is different, so look at all of the variable before throwing in the towel.
After school doesn’t mean academic-free
If you see your child struggling in a certain subject at school, like math, it is probably best to include that as an extracurricular. Although it may be a war every week to get them to go, it will probably be worthwhile in the end. It’s also nice to sign them up for something they like alongside an extracurricular they don’t exactly enjoy, in order to balance things out.
Narrow it down
Give choices to your children. They won’t be able to do every program out there — with so many leagues, lessons and activities to choose from the choices are endless and trying too many activities might lead to failure. If your child is in kindergarten, you will be the one making most of the choices. Choose based on your child’s interest, listen to what they are saying they want to participate in as well as what you feel they will be good at and find a happy medium! Many programs have a trail class — take advantage of them to see if it’s the right fit for your child. If your child is older, they may feel overwhelmed with the conversations going on at school and all of the exciting options, which may make it hard for them to choose what to participate in without over-doing it. With that said, many programs are seasonal, so sign up for a session this fall and try something new in the winter!
Remember, it is also important to have quality time with your children. Children of today can often be seen talking about their busy itineraries and full schedules after school. Play still plays an important role in your child’s ability to foster relationships and understand how the world works around them. Some children need to be in a variety of programs to foster their needs and talents, but remember every child is different! Programs can instill skills that your child will have for life and may hone in on in their life later on.
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