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    Getting Extracurricular Activities Right

    Getting Extracurriculars Right

    Most kids don’t have enough schoolwork to occupy all their afterschool time. This can be great – if they have stuff to do. Most parents don’t want to see their kids come home and sit in front of the TV until bedtime. But with all the options out there, picking the right extracurricular activities for your child can be tricky. Read on for some tips on how to get extracurriculars right.


    Let Them Lead

    First, don’t choose for them. Signing your child up for something that doesn’t interest them can cause behavioral problems, resentment, and anxiety. Instead, try offering your child a range of options: school-based activities, sports, cultural activities, volunteering, and outdoor groups. Besides an online search, your local library usually has information about activities, a jam-packed bulletin board (not everyone has a website), and their own afterschool programs.

    Be Openminded

    There’s tons out there, but only your openmindedness and guidance will help your child find the right pick for them. “Sports” doesn’t have to mean “football”: it can include activities as diverse as fishing, bowling, luge racing – let their imagination run wild. The more specific and esoteric, the better: if they’re really into tall ships, let them nerd out on tall ships. If they aren’t interested in becoming a violinist or a painter, they might still appreciate culture; symphonies and art museums often have children’s programs in music and art appreciation.


    Stay Firm

    Be sure to make it clear to your child that they will have the last word in picking what they do after school – as long as it’s not “the stay-at-home video game club.” Whatever they do, a social aspect is important. If they have close friends who do a certain activity, that can be an incentive to sign up, but also assure your child that they’ll make new friends no matter what activity they pick.

    Be Supportive

    If you want your child to stick with their activity of choice, show an interest and praise their progress. Remember that young children are just growing into themselves, so it may take a few different attempts to find something they truly enjoy. Make sure they try a given activity for at least a week, but let them quit if they’re miserable.

    Once they find their extracurricular activity, do all you can to get your child to stick with it. Who knows? It could become a lifelong passion.

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