Posted by: Ofer Aronskind | March 23, 2011

Planning After School Activities

Kids these days have more choices than ever before when it comes to after-school activities. But are your kids doing too much? If your child has something scheduled after school every day then that is probably the case. After all if your child’s week includes drama, gymnastics, music lessons, a sporting activity and the school newspaper, then by the end of the day that child is probably tired and frazzled — and that’s before they do any homework.

Of course, there are advantages to doing all these extracurricular activities. Your child will be well rounded and will have lots to put on a college application. However if you have a young child, it’s a long way till college and play and relaxation are even more important for the child’s development and well-being.

Guidelines for younger kids

Children who are in Grade 2 or under should probably only do a couple of activities a week. They need the rest of the time to relax and unwind and for unstructured play. Older children may have some thoughts about what activities they take part in, but don’t be afraid to say no if you think your child is doing too much. In grades 2 to 5, let your children choose their activities to help promote social and physical development.

After school activities for older kids

Children who are even older, say, in middle school, need to balance their activities with the need to get their homework done. You still need to limit extracurricular activities but it doesn’t matter if these take up several hours each week. Your kids probably have the energy to handle it at that age. Help your kids to plan their extracurricular activities so they also have time for homework and hanging out with friends. Set some ground rules as to what will happen if their academic performance slips. If kids are overtired they won’t keep up with their schoolwork, which is something parents have to look out for.

Setting priorities for extracurricular activities

Whatever age your children are you will need to help them understand how to prioritize their activities. Explain that if they spend a certain amount of time on one activity it made even less time for doing things that they also think are important. Some kids may feel that you are punishing them by limiting their after-school activities. You will need to explain the benefits of having less stress and more free time. Kids should be enjoying life rather than being in a constant work of activity.

Family time

Finally, remember the importance of family time. Schedule one night a week when everyone should be at home to take part in fun activities like playing board games, doing puzzles, playing active games, watching movies and so on. This is a great time for kids and parents to bond. Eating together is another great way to spend a family time and your kids will get as much out of this as out of the extracurricular activities they do a few times a week.

This was a guest post by Lior who works for Kids Chair World and also advises to a company that sells nurising wear and many other breastfeeding wear.


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