Choosing after school activities to suit your child takes careful consideration. This article will help give you some tips to choose the right one.
- Choosing after-school activities for your child to be involved in should be a well-thought out decision. In the current school systems, due to funding shortages (especially in the music and art fields), after school activities can fill an important gap in your children's education. For this reason, choosing the right after school activities for your child can be very important. As well, a busy child is less likely to find the time to pursue trouble-related activities. Your child will be happier doing an activity that they like and be less likely to get into trouble.
- The activities your child becomes involved in should, of course, take into account what the child is interested in, but you should take other considerations into account as well. These considerations could include how active the child is-should you promote sports or dance as an activity for a sedentary child who loves to sit in front of the computer all day? Or, should you include an activity that has a lot of parent involvement if you wish to share more time with your child?
- When choosing an after school activity, you also need to consider how much of your time as a parent will be involved. Consider that you are the one who will be taking the child to and from the activity. Also you may need to be in the stands cheering as your child plays soccer or has a dance competition. And, many parents are asked to volunteer to help out with many activities, perhaps to run fund-raisers or to help coach. As well, you may have to drive to out-of-town tournaments which may require a further commitment of your time.
- When deciding on which activities may be right for your child you need to consider your child's interests as more important than your own. Many people have set ideas on what their child should be involved in and do not consult the child. For instance, you may have been a hockey fan and pictured your son as the star player from birth. Maybe your son would prefer to play baseball, or even to take music lessons instead. Remember that the activity should be geared to the interests of your child, and you should support him in any thing he chooses.
- Even if the child is not really aware of activities he should be involved in, as a parent you should try to find out what he is good at and help him to further his interests in that direction. Every child is good at something and seems to have interests in a certain direction. For example, from a young age your child has always seems to love animals. Why not get him involved in horse-back riding for instance? Or if your child has always been very logical and precise, then maybe signing him up for a math club or computer camp would be in order? There are many, many programs available today in every field, there is surely something out there to suite your child's interests.
Have you considered these activities:
- Acting workshops
- Science or space camp
- Chess clubs
- Scottish Highland dancing
- Language lessons-anything from French to Mandarin
- Children's photography
- Rock collecting
- Jump Rope clubs
- Water sports, from swimming to surfing or water skiing
- Yo-yo clubs
- Another thing to consider when choosing an after school activity for your child is your child's time commitment. Children still need to have free time and they should not be involved in so many activities that this is taken away from them. They need to dream, to grow and to play...in other words, to discover who they are. Their lives can become too structured if they are involved in too many activities. And remember they need time to do formal school homework, time to eat dinner, watch T.V., play video games or simply relax. They don't need to be pressured constantly about having to be here or there, when sometimes they just need down-time. When choosing their activities, be sure your child has some stress-free time as well.
- As a parent, it is normal for you to want your child to be the best. But be aware that there is only one 'best' and that may not be your child. As long as they are enjoying themselves (with the added bonus of learning within that activity) be content with that. And let them know that they can quit an activity if they are not truly enjoying it. They should be allowed to discover and explore new things without the guilt of being a 'quitter'. Sometimes children don't know exactly what will interest them in the beginning-they may want to be a hockey star because that is what all their friends are doing, but they are really more suited to violin lessons. Let your child be free to discover new interests that can lead them in new directions.
- Remember in the process of choosing after school activities for your child that the main goal is for your child to enjoy what he is doing. He will learn more of the lessons taught within that activity, like sportsmanship, expanded knowledge of the universe, the theory of music, etc., if he is having fun at the same time. Your role as a parent is simply to guide him towards his future development.