Extracurricular activities have evolved from activities such as sports and dance to activities such as coding and robotics. This is because the future is changing and traditional education is not enough. One of the ways to prepare your child is to enroll your child for extracurricular activities because that will help equip your child for the future.
Extracurricular activities are activities that falls outside the scope of a child’s regular classroom/school curriculum. It involves engaging in activities that goes above and beyond the school academic requirements.
Benefits of Extracurricular activities
1. They Help In Improving Your Child’s Hobbies:
When a child starts to develop a hobby or learn a sport early, that child becomes more willing to learn new techniques and more open-minded about skill acquisition. Extracurricular activities are widely believed to positively impact a child’s growth, not just academically.
2. Earning Future Career Experience:
Extracurricular activities can equip your child with the much needed skills required to succeed after they graduate. These include — Leadership skills, teamwork, time management, communications skills, interviewing skills, office environment flexibility etc.
3. Builds Their Resume:
Participating in extracurricular activities is a superb resume builder. There are multiple reasons why:
— In conjunction with good grades, it can prove you have effective time-management skills.
— It shows that you are successful both inside and outside of the classroom.
— It can set you apart from a stack of resumes that primarily list academic achievements only.
4. Activities help the brain grow and develop
The child’s growing brain is capable of making millions of connections per second. But what connections are made and how many connections are made depends on the experience the brain receives. When your child participates in various activities she/he makes more brain connections much earlier in life than other children.
Involvement in extracurricular activities directly correlates to improved academic, psychological, and behavioral function
At what age should a child start extra-curricular activities?
Every child is different and children mature at different times. Do not compare your child to another child. In general, children must begin extracurricular activities when they are able to handle their self-care tasks on their own.
How to pick an Extracurricular activity for your Child
Picking the right extracurricular activity for your child is very important. If you get it wrong or you try to live vicariously through your child by making him/her do an activity you always wanted to do but never got the chance; it may lead to resentment from your child towards you.
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• Ask for your child’s opinion first, as it’s the child that will be carrying out the activity. If they have no idea, go through some options from the school or research on extracurricular activities in your area and select an activity based on the kinds of activities they already show interest in.
• As a parent, if your child’s school doesn’t offer some Extracurricular activities that you think your child will benefit from, you can ask them to introduce it for the benefit of your child and other children that may be interested.
Most schools in Lagos offer Extracurricular activities. Some schools on the Island go above and beyond to offer various Extracurricular activities to their students. These schools offer activities such as; Computer coding, Robotics, Mandarin, French, Chess, Tennis and much more.
Below Are Some Tips for Parents to Consider when choosing an extracurricular activity for their children:
1. Be on the lookout for a hidden talent.
Sometimes kids might not want to try new things for fear of failure. Kids with learning and thinking differences may oppose more because they already struggle. This is why it’s a good idea to encourage your child to try a new activity he’s interested in. You can agree that after he tries an activity, he can decide whether to stick with it or not.
The payoff could be discovering a new talent. For example, your child might be focused on playing baseball but find out he has a real knack for painting. That would be a great discovery and a big confidence boost.
2. Focus on your child’s health first.
Children must have enough time to sleep, eat and breathe. If the activity is taking away time from these vital functions – swiftly stop the activity. If it involves waking your child up at ungodly hours and spans for long hours during the day; then you should rethink such an activity – no matter how good the class is. Tears and tantrums are never worth it. And the adverse effects of stress on a child far outweigh the benefits any of these activities provided.
3. Is this activity beneficial to my child academic studies?
Look for activities that enhance learning. For example, the benefits related with Computer Programming help develop problem-solving skills. It uses various concepts like algorithms and ‘IF’ Functions; that are typical in mathematical reasoning.
4. What is the long-term benefit of the activity for my child?
In this age of technology, it’s difficult to find a job that doesn’t require such skills. Learning to code will increase your child’s odds of securing a lucrative STEM career; especially in a world where computing jobs are growing at over twice the national average.
Finally, it is important to note that; Extracurricular activities are not about learning skills to showcase to the world and win prizes with. The purpose of these activities is to allow the child to know more about him or herself while discovering the world. Balance and fun are the key words to be kept in mind when choosing and pursuing an extracurricular activity.