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Extracurricular Activities for Child Development

As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. We want them to grow up healthy, happy, and well-rounded individuals.

One way to help achieve this is by encouraging them to do extracurricular activities. Plenty of options are available to children after school or at weekends, allowing them to develop new skills and interests. From sports that teach teamwork to arts that fuel creativity, these activities can be more than just hobbies, they are potent tools for holistic development.

So let’s explore why extracurricular activities can be so beneficial, and how to go about getting your child involved;


Choosing the Activities

Is your child fascinated by art? Do they have a flair for sports? Do they enjoy performing? Their natural talents and interests will help you to choose an activity. Have a conversation with your child about what they might like to do and give them some suggestions, they may not be aware some clubs even exist. Don’t forget to consider the logistics, such as the location, time commitment, and cost. The internet, social media, local newspapers, and notice boards in the community or at school, are all places where activities could be advertised.


No Textbooks or Exams

Extracurricular activities aren’t just for the future football stars or dance prodigies. They’re hugely beneficial for children who may struggle with the traditional academic subjects at school. Doing activities out of school that they enjoy allows children to shine and discover their strengths. Whether it’s singing, swimming, or even coding, these experiences offer a refreshing break from the academic routine and give children who may struggle academically a platform to excel.


Not Everything Can Be Taught at School


Going to clubs or joining groups outside of school can give children valuable opportunities to learn useful life skills. For example, many sports teach how to work together as part of a team. Learning an instrument teaches perseverance and that practice makes perfect. Performing in a play or as part of a choir can help build confidence. Going on walking or camping expeditions can help teach resilience and leadership skills. While other activities teach essential and potentially life-saving skills, such as swimming. Being involved in a regular activity also helps to instill a sense of responsibility and accountability. Being punctual for practices or performances teaches children the importance of being dependable and fulfilling commitments.


A Break from School Work

Children need a break from schoolwork and the routine of the school day. And what better way to spend that time than doing something they love! These activities give children a break from schoolwork and a chance to immerse themselves in something they enjoy, leaving behind the world of textbooks, at least temporarily.


New Friends


Out of school clubs and activities are like friendship incubators! Bringing children who share similar interests, passions, and curiosities together. Whether it’s crafting or coding, these shared activities foster a sense of camaraderie and provide more opportunities to make friends.


Embrace Trial and Error

It’s not one size fits all when it comes to finding an activity that suits your child. So, if your child’s violin lessons turn into tap dance classes, that’s absolutely fine. Trying out new things and working out what you enjoy is part of the fun and learning experience, and helps you grow as a person.


Mental Health Benefits


Regular involvement in an enjoyable out-of-school activity gives children a sense of purpose and direction. It can reduce stress and improve mood, while providing a sense of community, helping children to feel supported and connected. Participating in sporting activities, in particular, has the added bonus of improving physical fitness, while the release of endorphins when we exercise also helps to relieve pain, and stress, and improve our mental well-being.


Don’t overdo it

When it comes to extracurricular activities, remember that moderation is vital. Children need downtime too, just like adults do after a long day at work, and without enough free time to do whatever they want, children can get stressed or anxious. Also, if they are spreading themselves too thinly they may not be able to improve their skills in any one area, which could knock their confidence and even put them off doing the activity altogether. So avoid overloading your child with many activities after school or at the weekend and try to strike the right balance, making sure they still have plenty of time to spend with friends and family, do their homework and get enough sleep.

So when your child expresses curiosity about a new activity, embrace it. Through extra-curricular activities, you are helping to provide them with more opportunities to explore, learn, and thrive in different environments and with different people, which will shape not only their skills but also their character.