In the beginning of every academic year parents and children are overwhelmed with a choice of different extracurricular activities, both practiced at the school and out of house options. Some children aren't bothered and don't want to participate in anything, while others are over-eager and want to do absolutely everything!
So how to find a balance?
For primary school it is important not to overload your child's afternoon with activities. Children need time play! Give them a limit to how many activities they are allowed to participate in, for instance two sports and two cultural activities, depending on your child's drive and temperament (and your budget).
In high school time is more constricted due to homework and projects and a student should never take on more activities than he or she can fit into their schedule. Academics always comes first, then extracurriculars
For children who don't want to do anything, encourage them to pick at least one activity that they may find interesting and fun. It doesn't have to be a group activity, it can be an individual sport or taking up a musical instrument. Doing something other than academics and playing video games is essential for a well-rounded child. Sometimes they just need a little push.
But use your own discretion. For some children pushing them will lead to more harm than good. You know your child best and if you're unsure you can always speak to his paediatrician or make an appointment with an Edu-Profilogist who can help guide you.
But which activities are best?
This is sometimes the most difficult part, since some children flourish in team sports while others should be doing individual sports. Others have the mental agility and patience for strategic games, such as chess, while others were born with natural musical instincts.
You may know where your child fits in and that is great! But we specialise in helping those children and parents who have no idea where to start. We have a network of trained professional Edu-Profilogists who can assist you with these difficult decisions.
Individual activities also have their own advantages to help your child grow in a specific area. Let's look at a few of these:
If your child is shy and being shunted around by other kids, drama will help her gain confidence and be more assertive.
If your child lacks confidence, modelling and pageantry can do wonders for her self-esteem.
Playing in a team sport helps develop camaraderie, motor skills, and coordination.
Ball sports enhances hand-eye, foot-eye, and hand-foot coordination.
Choir and music lessons teaches determination and develops the brain for better mathematical reasoning.
Martial arts instils confidence and promotes motor skills. Also very helpful in a self defence situation.
These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Remember that extracurricular activities, especially in foundation phase, is not about the competition. Focus on having fun! If your child enjoys it, even if he never wins, it is worth it! He is learning so much more than just becoming better at that activity!
That said, there is always a winner and a loser. Your child needs to learn to be a good loser - recognising that he had fun and tried his best and being happy for the winner; as well as a good winner - staying humble and congratulating competitors on their efforts.
Good luck with the new school year and may your child always do his best at everything he tackles!