Sports may be the first thing that comes to mind when many parents think of extracurricular activities for their children, but not all kids are cut out for or interested in competitive athletics. But just because a youngster may not be the next star quarterback or captain of the soccer team does not mean he or she can’t find an extracurricular activity to be passionate about.
Parents know that schoolwork comes first, but extracurricular activities can be important to a child’s development, serving as an avenue to meet new people and an opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork. The following are a handful of things parents should consider when trying to help their children find the right extracurricular activities.
One of the easiest ways to help kids find an extracurricular activity they can be passionate about is to discuss their interests with them. Youngsters with a love of animals might enjoy volunteering at a local animal shelter or hospital, while those who love to write may find writing for the school newspaper is a great way to apply that passion in a practical setting. Even kids with a passion for video games might be interested in learning about computer graphics and what it takes to design games. When trying to find extracurricular activities for your children, resist the urge to write off any of their interests. Instead, use those interests as jumping off points to further engage their passions.
Parents know that school comes before extracurricular activities, but kids may not be so wise. Keep in mind kids’ existing workloads when helping them find the right afterschool activities. Many organizations are especially flexible with teenage volunteers or employees, but parents still must keep a watchful eye to ensure kids do not overextend themselves. Kids who overcommit to extracurricular activities may end up feeling burnt out, which can have a negative impact on their schoolwork. Encourage kids to find activities they care about, but emphasize that these activities should not become bigger priorities than schoolwork. A couple of hours per week and even some additional time on the weekends should not distract kids from their responsibilities at school, and that’s still ample time for kids to explore their interests.
Internships were once exclusive to college students, but many organizations now offer internship opportunities to high schoolers as well. Kids who find themselves interested in particular subjects at school, whether it’s graphic design or a beginner’s course on finance, may be eligible for internships with local companies. Such opportunities may even encourage kids to pursue a particular course of study once they enter college.
Extracurricular activities can help youngsters develop into well-rounded adults. Parents can help kids find the right activities while still encouraging them to keep schoolwork atop their priority lists