The start of the school year is fast approaching, and now is the time to start thinking about activities that will keep your kids busy after the school bells ring. Whether it’s art, sports or dance, there is an extracurricular activity, or activities, for everyone. However, sometimes it’s not as simple as signing on the dotted line at registration. A lot of thought and planning goes in to choosing the right extracurricular activities for your child. Here are four things to consider when choosing extracurricular activities for children.
First, it’s important to consider the cost of the activity and what you can afford. Most parents realize certain sports require a lot of equipment. But it’s important to recognize that the amount of equipment necessary and the cost of it can vary depending on the position your child plays. For instance, hockey goalie equipment comes with a hefty price tag. Also, growth spurts can add extra costs, like when those cleats your son needs for baseball fit at the start of the season, but a few months in they’ve already grown out of them. Remember to consider the cost of uniforms, and that in some sports you may need more than one. But sports aren’t the only costly activities. Art classes also require a lot of supplies. Consider all of the paints, pens, and brushes a child needs. Before you go any further in choosing an after school activity for your child, consider if it falls within your budget.
Second, be sure it’s feasible to get them there on time after school. If it’s a school organized sport, it’s usually on school grounds. If there’s an away game, the students often go by bus, which makes it very easy on mom and dad since there isn’t any extra driving involved. But if dance starts at 5:00 p.m., and it’s not on campus you have to be able to get them there. If you don’t get off work until 5:00, they don’t make it to rehearsal unless you prearrange a ride.
Third, consider the additional commitment some extracurricular activities require. A travel sports team requires a lot of weekends away for travel time, and may add travel costs to your budget. Or if your child is in theater, most of their performances will be on weekends in addition to their regular commitment. So if it’s not good for you to be gone on weekends, consider this before choosing an activity for your child.
Fourth, and most importantly, let your child choose what they want to do. Once you’ve considered all of the factors above give them a couple of options to choose from. When selecting these activities, consider your child’s strengths and weaknesses. If your kid tends to be clumsy and constantly tripping over their feet, soccer may not be the best choice. But if they enjoy singing and can carry a tune, consider getting them in choir or theater. Letting them have a choice in the extracurricular activities will empower them to choose something they think will be fun. Also, stress to them how important it is that they try stick with their commitment through the end. They may be nervous the first few weeks or feel out of place, but they will get the hang of it.
I hope you have found these tips helpful to getting your child set up for a great school year.