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Extracurricular activities help children build skills for life

We all want the very best for our children. It is sometimes hard to know how many extra activities we should do and how many are too much. As we navigate the many competing demands of life, we need to remember what we want for our children long-term.

I believe confidence is the best gift we can give our children, as confidence is directly related to the trajectory of their lives. With confidence, children can take bigger risks, speak up for themselves, and stand up for what they believe in. With confidence, children go after their dreams. Without confidence, children play smaller, feel insecure and dream less.

As a working mother of three young children with multiple demands, I always remember the intention of putting my children in different activities – I want my children to be confident, capable and successful in life. Extracurriculars are more than just the steps or skills they are learning from the activity, but are teaching them skills for life they can take with them.

Learning communication skills, teamwork, work ethic, and time management are important skills that all adults need to be successful. When children are busy with activities, they are often more engaged and have better time management skills. They have focus and discipline that they can apply in school and in life.

How much is too much? My answer is always to pay attention to your children after their activities are done for the day. Are they uplifted and excited? Did they learn something new? If the answer is yes, keep supporting their activity.

We could all plan to do fewer activities so things are not as busy, but that can lead to more screen time, more boredom and less fulfillment. Some kids are bouncing with energy until bedtime, so consider keeping them enrolled in extracurriculars. It’s a good time to ensure children are engaged, stimulated, and having fun all while learning new skills that will help them be successful adults.

Three simple considerations for registering for extracurricular activities:

  1. Weighing out the pros and cons of activities is helpful when deciding what activities to sign up for. You can think about logistics, scheduling, and skill sets they will learn. Focus on the benefits your child will receive from participating.
  2. Discussing what your child is interested in is a great starting point. Deciding if they really like it before increasing the frequency is key. There are so many options available for recreational and competitive teams.
  3. Asking your child what the best part of their class or session was and what they learned. This opens up conversation with your child and keeps things interesting. Pay attention to what they are saying when you ask them pointed questions rather than “how was your practice?”

Children learn by playing, so it’s important to open up opportunities for children to try as much as possible – whether it be at home with the family, outside with their friends, or by registering for a program with consistency and support. Children need to play and connect with others.

It’s time to get our children back on track and provide them with opportunities that build skills for life! Dance and other sports build confidence, creativity, and character, and provide a healthy outlet for children to move and connect with their bodies. Children learn discipline, teamwork, work ethic, and they serve as an emotional, physical, and mental release.

Cara is the founder and artistic director of Soul Connexion. If you are looking for an activity that is fun and physical, check out soulconnexion.ca! The boys-only hip-hop classes are high in demand as the boys learn coordination, balance, and body control that they can apply to all other sports. Their mission is to inspire growth and they offer classes for all ages and abilities.

 

See related articles:

Choosing extracurricular activities: How to go from questions to answers

How to juggle extracurricular activities when you have a large family

When your child wants to quit extracurriculars

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