Pros and Cons of after-school activities

Date: September 5, 2017 Author: admin Categories: Child Development, Learning Styles

When it comes to after school activities, it can be challenging to know how many, SEPTEMBER_Afterschool activities1if any, activities to choose for your child. Today’s children often have daily homework and by adding after school activities there is a concern that they will get stressed out. Adding too many activities also takes away from “structured free time” that allow children free play and downtime.

 

What are the benefits of after school activities?

 

There are definitely benefits in getting kids together outside of the classroom for more activities—especially the physical kinds. It gives kids social interactions while at the same time helping them get out some of their energy so they can settle and go back to their work after school. This is particularly important as schools are cutting back on recess more and more according to an article by childmind.org

 

Furthermore, kumon.com lists 8 reasons to get your children involved in after-school activities:

 

  1.       Time Management and Prioritizing

Extracurricular activities teach children how to manage their time and prioritize various tasks and commitments.

 

  1.       Exploring Diverse Interests

The school band, drama club, or any sport may be an activity your children are interested in joining.  By allowing your children the opportunity to explore diverse interests, you give them the opportunity to discover what they are passionate about. Once your children find an activity that they enjoy, succeeding in the activity could ultimately build their confidence and self-esteem.

 

  1.       Making a Contribution

Extracurricular activities allow your children to make a contribution to their school or community, which is an important step in preparing them for life outside of academics.

 

  1.       Building Self-Esteem

Mastering new skills can help build confidence in children. By participating in after-school activities, they can build their self-esteem in a relaxed setting as their activities provide the opportunity to be successful in something that they are passionate about.

 

  1.       College Applications

Another benefit of after-school activities is that they look great on college applications. In addition to academic performance, many colleges look at what activities students are involved in outside of school as a way to fully understand each student.

 

  1.        Setting Goals

After-school activities present opportunities for your children to develop their goal-setting skills. Most extracurricular activities involve reaching or achieving a goal, whether it be the lead actor in the school play, winning the state championship or coming in first place in the science fair. As a result, these activities help encourage students to work toward achieving those goals, while having fun at the same time.

 

  1.       Teamwork

Sports teams, clubs and activities, like dancing and music, all require children to work together toward a common goal. By participating in these activities, your children develop the skills they need in order to successfully work with others. In addition, extracurricular activities let children to build relationships and socialize with peers who share their interests.

 

  1.       Academics

As mentioned previously, recent studies show a correlation between improved grades, behavior and work habits as a result of students’ involvement in after-school activities.

Share some additional benefits your children have experienced as a result of their involvement in extracurricular activities.

 

When is it too much?

 

With too many structured after school activities, there is always the risk of spreading yourself too thin.SEPTEMBER_Afterschool activities2

kidshealth.org states in an article that some parents feel it’s more productive to keep their children constantly occupied rather leave free time for playing, exploring, and learning on their own. And sooner or later, kids who are too busy will begin to show signs. Every child is different, but overscheduled kids may:

 

  •         feel tired, anxious, or depressed
  •         complain of headaches and stomachaches, missed meals, or lack of sleep
  •         fall behind on their schoolwork, causing their grades to drop

 

While every child is different, childmind.org states a pretty simple calculus for how much is too much. Can you still do your homework? Can you still get 8+ hours of sleep each night? Can you still be a part of your family? Can you still hang out with your friends? If the answer is ‘no’ to one or more of these, then it’s too much. Put simply – it’s too much when afterschool activities start interfering with a child’s life.

 

The solution is to know your child and his/hers limitations. And listen to your child and watch out for any warning signs. While after school activities have many benefits, adding in some self-directed activities and giving kids the time and the place to think for themselves can be just as important.