Many of the parents we meet at ParentingSuccess feel that after school activities take up more time than they would like and is to blame for some of the unwanted behaviours in their children.
The offers from clubs start pouring in the moment our little ones return to school. And of course most of these activities sound both interesting and educational, and probably are! So the tough job we have as parents is to decide what and how much is right for our child. And also, just as importantly, For the family as a whole.
Here are 3 considerations that you might find useful in making your decision…
Is it my need or my child’s need?
I loved playing the piano as a child – and always wish I’d also taken up the guitar, learned to dance and done performing arts. So when flyers for these types of clubs arrive home in my daughter’s school bag I feel a strong pull to enrol her immediately. I mean, these are awesome activities and skills that can add serious value to one’s life! But is it my daughter’s need? More often than not the answer is no. If you pay close attention you can tell the difference.
Can I be asked to chauffeur?
If you feel tired chauffeuring the kids around after school to various clubs – chances are they do too! This is worth considering before even asking our youngest children whether they are interested in clubs that take place at a car ride distance. Of course we want to support our children’s desires and it is a good idea to fully support whatever true passion and interests our children develop. And we are way more likely to – if we eliminate the superfluous after school activities that we feel end up tipping the balance.
Is there enough downtime in my child’s life?
Thankfully a lot of the after school actives on offer are run from school -and in some cases even during break time. But recess serves a purpose.. and for the youngest ones offer an important opportunity to PLAY – something there is increasingly less time to do as they progress through school. To children play and down time is serious business. This is when they consolidate their learning, when they regenerate and are allowed to be creative. And between homework duties and general family life – we can very easily end up with jam packed schedules that feel anything but invigorating.
The good news is – it is never too late to change what is not working.
Try to experiment. Life balance and a happy family life is always a work in progress. A family chat (CLICK here to read more) is a really useful way to have these kind of conversations as a family.
In our next blog we will cover some of the common signs that your child may be over subscribed – and potentially slightly stressed.
From the ParentingSuccess Team
More information CLICK here