Extracurricular activities play an essential role in a child’s overall development. With numerous options, choosing the right one for your little one can be tricky and overwhelming. Here are 11 tips to help you select the right activities that can help enhance your child’s skills and maximize their potential.
Know your child’s interests
Before starting your search, you must learn your little one’s interests. What activities do they enjoy? What fascinates them? How do they usually spend their free time? Ensure you’re pursuing your child’s interests and not forcing your dreams on them.
Remove any expectations of your child, as what they are passionate about may be far from what you expect. If you’re unsure of what they fancy, it would be best to ask them directly to ensure they’ll actively and not passively engage with your chosen activities.
Assess their abilities
Aside from learning their interests, you must also know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Extracurricular activities are meant to enhance their talents or natural abilities, so aligning them with their strengths can produce more results than pursuing activities they usually struggle with.
For instance, if they love music, sign them up for piano lessons at a reputable institution such as South Shore Piano School. If they’re good with sports and love being outdoors, enrolling them in a football or soccer club can help boost their self-confidence and social skills.
Consider your child’s age
Your child’s age is an integral factor when selecting an extracurricular activity. While younger kids can pursue almost all types of activities, older ones should be more deliberate in their selection, as it could affect their future endeavours. If your little one is still young, let them pursue new activities, as going outside their comfort zones might help them uncover hidden talents.
You should also ensure they’re developmentally ready to participate in the activity. Not considering their developmental level and readiness can leave them feeling frustrated and disheartened with their abilities.
Seek guidance from your child’s teachers
Another efficient way to get ideas is to consult with their teachers. Your little one’s teachers know how your child performs, their abilities and interests, and the activities they excel at. They can provide essential information and direct you to the right extracurricular activity institution. Aside from talking to their teachers, reach out to other parents, especially those with children of similar ages as yours.
Align the activity with their personality
Another factor to consider when choosing extracurricular activities is your child’s personality. If your child is an extrovert, enrolling them in group classes that foster teamwork can help develop their abilities even further, especially their social skills.
Alternatively, if your little one prefers to be low-key, activities such as painting, swimming, or writing classes might help them flourish. Encourage them to try new things, but refrain from forcing your child to engage in activities that they’re uncomfortable with.
Consider their schedule
When searching for extracurricular activities, considering your child’s schedule is essential. With their hectic schedule and your responsibilities, you must ensure that their chosen activity blends seamlessly with everyone’s daily routine.
If you’re a single working parent, balancing everything can be challenging, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from trusted loved ones. Regardless of how beneficial the activity is for your child, avoid committing to them if schedule conflicts arise.
Make it fun and memorable
Children thrive better when they’re having fun. When they love what they’re doing, they’re more likely to participate and be actively involved. For young children, it is ideal to choose non-competitive extracurricular activities. Too strenuous activities translate to unhealthy stress, leading to lower self-esteem and negative self-image.
Find activities that promote fun and excitement rather than classes solely focused on developing technical skills. Make sure that the environment is warm and positive, and encourages your child to freely discover their potential without pressure and restrictions.
Consider the long-term benefits
While extracurricular activities should be fun, they should be productive and worthwhile. Select activities that offer long-term benefits to your child. These extracurricular activities should help your little one learn how to do life efficiently, especially once they become adults.
Choose programs that enhance your child’s skills and allow them to learn more about themselves. If your kid is old enough to make decisions, discuss their future dreams and aspirations with them.
Exhaust all information resources
Once you have a list of potential activities, the next step is to start researching. Search for institutions, organizations, or centres in your neighbourhood that offer extracurricular activity programs within your budget. Check their requirements, main objectives, and if they have the necessary licenses and certifications.
Go through their social media platforms and read reviews from other parents or current students. Remember that you and your child will invest effort, time, and financial resources in these classes,
so finding a quality school that meets your standards is vital.
Do trial classes
Before enrolling your child, do a trial class to ensure the activity suits them. Most extracurricular activity centres offer free classes, so take advantage of as many as possible. Visiting the centre or school allows you to see its facilities and speak with its staff. Is the place clean and comfortable? Is their equipment safe and of quality?
Maximize the free classes offered to help determine if the activity piques your child’s genuine interest and not just a fleeting excitement brought about by new surroundings. Doing introductory classes can help filter the relevant and meaningful activities from the unprofitable ones.
Support their decision
Children are more likely to succeed if their parents support them unconditionally. If your child decides to quit in the middle of the program, motivate them to continue, but do not pressure or threaten them to continue. Respect your child’s decisions and show them their feelings and opinions matter.
Remember that your kids’ happiness and welfare should always precede anything else. However, ensure your child’s decision to quit was not triggered by their classmates, instructors, or any unfortunate incident.