Work hard, play hard. Life is all about balance. I don’t mind putting forth the effort as long as I have equal time for my own activities and enjoyment. I believe the same is true with my children’s time.
Children need activities to grow. School is important, but it’s not always fun for our kiddos. To balance the grueling school days, after-school activities are recommended and encouraged. I strive to mold my children into well-rounded individuals. Being well-rounded is about more than just excelling academically or athletically. It's about fostering a diverse set of skills, interests, and experiences that contribute to personal growth and development. Encouraging children to participate in a variety of activities allows them to explore different facets of themselves and the world around them. They can develop physical skills, creativity, teamwork, leadership, empathy, and much more. The focus should be on the process of exploration and learning, rather than on winning or being the best. Ultimately, the goal is to help children become well-rounded individuals who are capable of contributing positively to their communities.
Extracurricular activities are also a great way for children to stay physically fit, have fun with friends, and gain new skills and experiences. Taking the time to find the right activity can help foster a sense of self-confidence. By exploring interests and passions, they are making life more interesting.
Some children know exactly what they want to do in their free time. For others, it’s not so easy. Helping your child choose the right activity to join can be a challenge, especially when there are so many options available! To hone-in on specific extracurriculars, I suggest the following:
Sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, and gymnastics are popular choices. They promote physical fitness, teamwork, and discipline. Different sports cater to different age groups and skill levels, making them suitable for many. My son isn’t a huge fan of team sports, but he sure loves karate! Martial arts, track & field and swimming are also great physical activities. Also consider some smaller niche activities, such as fencing, lacrosse, and diving.
This includes dance, drama, and music. Performing arts help children express themselves creatively, build self-confidence, and improve social skills. They can start at any age with beginner classes and progress as they grow.
These could range from a science club, a chess club, to a reading club. Clubs provide a platform for children to delve deeper into their interests, learn new skills, and foster a sense of belonging. Classes with wood-working or sewing are great life skills.
Participating in community service activities can instill a sense of social responsibility in children. This could be volunteering at a local shelter, organizing fundraising events, or participating in environmental clean-ups. The local animal shelter can always use help walking dogs. By providing enrichment to our four-legged counterparts, both the animals and the humans benefit.
It's all too easy to say you are a busy working mom with kids that takes up every moment of your time. But stop! My best blog for moms can help with that. Although it should be considered important that adults take part in activities that allow them to develop new skills and pursue their passions, I understand the pressure of time . Here is a list of ideas for parents to pair with their children's activities and also a short list of personal time if you can make it:
With a little research, you may find sports and activities that pair children and their parents with new activities. Consider horseback riding, glass art classes, kite building and flying, and robotics. Another great area that encompasses all of this is Scouting. The Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts allow children to experience a multitude of different activities. My oldest son is involved in Boy Scouts, and his particular troop is very outdoorsy with tons of activities all the time. They canoe, camp, and take part in community service projects. They always have fun activities planned. None of these are possible without the help of the parents. It has certainly gotten me out of my comfort zone! I am right there with him, setting up the tent for the overnight camping trips and attending activities with him. I have learned that I am never too old to make new friends myself!
Children need encouragement to help them make the most out of the many opportunities that life has to offer. If they see that their parents are willing to try their hand at new adventures, they are empowered to do the same! By exploring a variety of activities, parents can ensure that their kids are developing into well-rounded individuals with many skills and interests. Ultimately, these experiences will serve as valuable stepping-stones in their journey towards adulthood.
No matter what activity you choose, it is important to take time for yourself and for activities that bring you joy. Whether you are looking for after-school activities for yourself or for your child, there is something out there for everyone.