Extracurricular activities have become a very important part of a child’s educational process. Although they may not be an integral part of the school curriculum, they are important in developing and discovering a child’s skill set and passion.
Extracurricular activities are activities that fall outside of the normal school curriculum. They can range from sports to music lessons, to ballet, drama, dance- anything that is a regularly scheduled activity that your child participates in outside of regular school hours.
Extracurricular activities have evolved from activities such as ballet, karate, and dance to activities such as coding, robotics, and Mandarin. This is because the future is changing and traditional education is not enough. One of the only ways to prepare your child is to enroll your child for extracurricular activities that will help equip your child for the future.
Benefits of Extracurricular activities
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.
According to one study, involvement in extracurricular activities directly correlates to improved academic, psychological, and behavioral function. Other benefits include learning time management, becoming more accountable, and raising self-esteem. Extracurricular activities also look good on college applications and a resume.
How to pick an Extracurricular activity for your Child
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.
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. The most important factor in choosing is that it’s something your child really enjoys doing.
- 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 neighborhood.
- 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.
Some Tips for Parents to Consider
1. How well does the activity support the values I consider to be most important for my child? Think about activities that teach the importance of persistence, the value of teamwork as well as the ability to communicate thoughts in a structured way.
2. How does the activity correspond with my child’s natural talents, abilities, strengths, and interests? This almost seems like a no-brainer. Try to avoid a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Try to look at your child as an individual, and to determine what his/her natural strengths and interests are – and then to find extra-curricular activities that support those.
3. Is this activity beneficial to my child academic studies? Look for activities that enhance learning. For example, the benefits associated 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 technology 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. Spark IT Bootcamp has been training the next generation of tech natives to code since 2013. In Partnership with Oracle Academy, Cisco and Microsoft, they have access to a vast selection of teaching tools in computer programming for kids age 7-16.
When should your Child start an Extracurricular activity?
At the beginning of a school term, a child has to get used to new teachers and classmates. If the child is starting a new school, there is, even more, to get used to, such as a new school system.
Before you enroll your child, make sure that they have fully adjusted to the new routine.
Here are some signs your child has adjusted well to school and may be ready for more stimulation than an extracurricular activity can provide:
- They will be excited to go to school
- Are making friends at school
- Showing normal academic progress
- Are even-tempered for most of the day
Once you are certain that your child has adjusted to the new school term, you can then introduce extracurricular activities.
Some parents advice that it is best to expose your child to a lot of extracurricular activities. This way they find new interests and stay with the activities they do enjoy.