School has started, and getting back into a routine and out of vacation mode is difficult for children, as well as parents (I am sure some of you are so happy that your children are back in school and on a routine. I know I am). Now that my daughter has started kindergarten, I feel that she is old enough to understand and enjoy extra curricular activities, as well as my 3-year-old son.
The values from extra-curricular activities:
There are many benefits to extracurricular activities. Here are a few things I feel are beneficial: 1) it helps you learn important life skills. For example, sports can teach you about teamwork. They can also help children learn to compete, which can in turn teach sportsmanship. It is important that they learn to have fun and know you don’t always have to win to do so. 2) Sports also help children learn to exercise and eat healthy and to live an active and healthy lifestyle. This is a big one since obesity has become such a huge problem for children. 3) Extra-curricular activities also help with social skills and teach children to socialize. I have seen this transformation specifically in my kids. Extra-curricular activities have helped them emerge into social butterflies.
8 extra-curricular activities you can put your children in:
1. Music class: I started my eldest daughter at 5 months, my son at 4 months and now my little one at 3 months. Music has always made my children happy! Repetition of songs, movements, and instruments we would use helped my children learn about rhythm, tunes, and different ways to make music.
2. Gymnastics: I started my daughter at the age of 4 and my son at 3. They LOVED their class. They learned how to balance, jump, and go through different obstacles. They also were able to discover flexibility. I don’t think my children ever knew how flexible they were until they started gymnastics.
3. Sports: In the next few months I will be starting my two oldest kids in a soccer league. When I was younger my parents started me off in basketball and volleyball and saw how beneficial it was in my adult life. I learned how to work as a team and how to compete. Plus it kept me active and healthy.
4. Martial arts, tae kwon do, or karate: These types of activities help children learn discipline, train your mind, and strengthen your body. I have seen my son build a lot of respect and strength from putting him in tae kwon do.
5. Dance: Dance builds confidence, coordination, and kinesthetic intelligence. My children love to DANCE! We as a family usually have a dance session on Friday evenings. It is a time to just be silly and dance around in our living room. I have my daughter in dance classes right now. She did ballet for about a year and now is in bollywood dance classes. She enjoys them both very much!
6. Educational classes: Kumon, Sylvan and Kaplan kids… I know not every child wants to learn after they have been in school for almost 6 hours, but after school educational classes are great for children who are excelling or even for children who need a little bit of a push! Kaplan kids is an online tutoring class, which is great for older kids who are savvy with the computer. This one they can do from the convenience of your own home!
7. Swim: Swim classes create awareness, especially about personal safety. It also helps children develop personal growth, which helps with self-development and development of others. I put my kids in swim class when they were babies (around 4-5 months); I saw that it helped them feel comfortable in the water and at the same time helped build their motor and movement skills.
8. Creative activities: Cooking classes, arts and crafts, pottery classes, etc. are all classes that help children with imagination and creative thinking. As mentioned above, pottery classes help improve creativity. This is an important skill to obtain throughout childhood and beyond this. Some kids like the idea of joining as many clubs and activities as possible, but can find they may not enjoy some as much as others. Plus, they are not free. If you are considering taking your child to a pottery class, you could look into a Pottery making blog to help give you tips and advice on this activity before committing to anything. As well as creativity, it also, helps children with problem solving. My daughter and son have taken a few cooking classes and they loved it! They loved that they had the authority to do things, which helped build their independence and gave them a confidence boost.
* I know that extra curricular activities are NOT CHEAP…. It adds up after awhile, especially if you have more than one child. But do what you can afford, and NO you are not a bad parent if you do not put your child in extra curricular activities. Just speaking from personal experience, I have seen a huge difference in my children from partaking is these types of programs and classes. I have been able to see my kids grow and have learned that they can do a lot more than I ever knew they were capable of!!