You want your kid to unlock his potential and become the best she can possibly be.
That is why you encourage her to try and pursue her passion, whether that means playing for the school’s sports team, acting in plays, or even following her aspirations to become a fashion model.
These activities can teach her invaluable lessons and skills that she can use later in life. But these same activities can also take a toll on her inner and social life if you do not provide her with ample support.
Stressed and overwhelmed
Extracurricular activities can teach kids soft skills like teamwork and social skills like communication and confidence.
But these benefits should not come at the expense of your child’s performance in school. At the end of the day, your child’s education takes priority over everything else.
For kids, striking a balance between school and their chosen activities can be difficult. Failure to find an optimal mix between the two can leave your kid stressed and overwhelmed, undermining the very purpose of allowing your child to engage in activities outside of school.
But as a parent, how exactly can you help your child excel in both school and her chosen extracurricular activity?
1. Remember: Boredom is good.
One mistake many parents make is to cram their kids’ schedules with a bevvy of activities, thinking that boredom is the enemy.
But remember, if your child is always preoccupied with too many different things (everything from chores to school work to extracurricular activities), there will be a higher likelihood that she will fail to truly hone her skills in the activity that she is genuinely passionate about.
Leave enough gaps in your kid’s daily schedule. This will give her ample time to focus on the activities she is passionate about and even time to breathe and pause. Additionally, she’ll have more time to spend for school, family activities, and socialization with her peers.
And do not be afraid that your child will be bored. Boredom can be beneficial, especially for young minds. It can promote creativity that can prove valuable later in life.
2. Encourage her to choose the activities to focus on and to leave behind.
It’s good to give children the opportunity to try new things. That’s the best way to help them find things that they can be truly passionate about.
But equally important is letting your child know that it is all right to quit some activities.
Let your child pick the activities that she wants to try. You can nudge her toward a specific direction, but at the end of the day, she will be the one gauging her interest.
If things don’t pan out for her, ask her why. In some cases, your child’s interest may just be waning. In other cases, she may be discouraged by her dynamics with her coaches, instructors or peers. Perhaps the actual activity is different from what she was expecting. In any case, if your child insists on quitting, it is perfectly all right to do so.
3. Help her create a schedule.
Before your child starts with a new extracurricular activity, it is best to sit down with her and create a good schedule.
Start with the non-negotiables. These include time for her studies and time for her chores at home. From there, you can begin blocking her time for her chosen activities. This will help both of you keep things organized or even find activities to leave behind or add if her schedule permits it.
Again, school should take priority over everything else.
4. Teach her organizational skills.
Left alone, your child can easily find herself overwhelmed simply because kids do not inherently know how to organize their schedules.
Find time to teach your child how to organize her schedule, including identifying tools which can be beneficial for her. These include calendars and apps.
A crucial skill your child will also need to learn early on is how to prioritize certain tasks. This will help her keep pace with the flurry of activities she is engaged in, including homework assignments.
5. Lend a helping hand.
Watch her report card and look at her grades. If your child is doing well in school while engaged in her chosen extracurricular activities, it means that she is able to stay on top of her busy schedule.
But if there is a marked dive in her academic performance, you must stem the tide against this trend. Often, that simply means letting her know that you support her.
And one of the best ways to show your support is helping her with her studies. Perhaps you can set aside time to help her with projects or assignments. Maybe you can get her a tutor to help in her studies, especially in subjects that she is struggling with.
Activities outside the four corners of school can help your child become well-rounded. However, parents should always be vigilant in observing if their child is feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. With adequate attention, planning, and constant communication, you and your child can find the balance between school and extracurricular activities.