Extra-curricular activities can play a very important part of a child’s development. Research shows that, ‘participating in one or more structured extracurricular activities has physical, emotional, psychological, academic, and social benefits.’ These benefits range from improvement in general health, emotional regulation, study skills, subject grade points, and aptitude test scores to an increase in self-esteem.
In addition, it also teaches respect for social values, customs, rules, and individual differences. It is one thing to understand the importance of extra-curricular activities, but, putting them in place can be a whole other matter. Once a child is home from school, has eaten dinner and completed homework, it is likely the last thing they want to do is leave the house for another activity. Although fitting another activity into the family routine might seem impossible, making time for non-academic activities will be of great benefit to a child. There are ways of making the inclusion of such pursuits much easier.
The list below outlines some of the most beneficial extra-curricular activities for children while focusing on the child’s enjoyment. Making it easier for parents to bond with their children.
The benefits of a child learning to play a musical instrument are vast, it helps develop motor skills and coordination, short- and long-term memory. It shows the importance of perseverance and hard work. All this while boosting their self-esteem, there really are few things more satisfying than finally playing that song perfectly.
Exposing a child to different genres of music is also a really great way of helping them learn about other cultures and histories. This helps to foster an open mindset and a desire to learn more. Encouraging a child to pursue music can be challenging, however, things can be made much easier when focusing on the choice of musical instrument.
Things to consider when deciding which is the best instrument for a child. Firstly, is the child excited about it? Do they like the way it sounds and feels? Is the instrument challenging enough or too challenging for the child? Does the child’s temperament match the instrument? Can the parents afford the instrument and its upkeep?
Mastering a musical instrument takes time, which can be disheartening for many children. As a parent, remember to keep encouraging their progress and that practice little and often is the key.
Encouraging a child to engage in regular physical activity has great benefits for their brain development, teamwork skills, as well as concentration and academic performance.
For some children team sports such as football, basketball, cricket or softball are a great way for them to enjoy exercise. But for others, parents will have to try some less common activities.
For children who aren’t suited to team sports, options such as dance, swimming, martial arts or cycling could be a great alternative. It might take a while for a child to find a sport they love, so keep testing out different things. Whether the sport takes the form of a competitive team exercise or relies more on individual endurance, any physical extra-curricular activity will be of great benefit to a child.
Not only will the pursuit of reading outside the classroom greatly improve a child’s performance in school, but it also allows them to gain valuable skills for later life. Being important in ‘daily life for negotiating the environment, for relaxation and for self-regulation’.
Although most parents are aware of the importance of regular reading, it can be a hard-extra-curricular activity to implicate. A child who has come home from school tired, with a pile of homework, is likely not to be too inclined to sit with their parent and read for thirty minutes. This is a very natural situation and if it is the case, is easily fixed by using more appropriate reading tools.
There are a number of online reading programs which focus on reading, comprehension and vocabulary lessons through an attractive interactive format perfect for even the least enthusiastic child.
4. Painting and Sketching
Some children are happier pursuing more artistic endeavours, over more rowdy activities. Incorporating time for painting or sketching can be simple, needing only a few supplies, your child can draw at the kitchen table while you are preparing a meal.
Such pursuits help a child to develop creative skills which improves brain development, problem-solving skills all while offering an important outlet for self-expression. When it comes to introducing any extracurricular activity remember, take things slowly, and let your child guide you, and encourage their progress.