How Extracurricular Activities Can Ease The Back To School Transition
By: Natalie Perkins
In recent years, not only have electronics become a child’s main source of entertainment, but academic achievement is a goal of parents and teachers from day one of kindergarten. But what impact does that have on our kids? Often we worry that it will stunt friendships, outdoor activities, and overall health. Activities outside of school have been shown many positive benefits, from teaching them socialization and team skills to stress management and health benefits which can ease the transition into a new year at school. Often, the extracurricular activity is done all year long so that it ends up being the constant in a child’s life while school is only practiced 9 months out of the year with a new teacher or new environment each year. The extracurricular can be their place of solace - never changing and a constant they can come back to feel at ease. Many of the foundations of extracurricular activities happen when children are in preschool and during elementary school years.
We hear parents say, “I don’t know if paying for dance is worth it for my 3-year-old” all the time! But if you’re trying to decide whether this extracurricular activity is right for your family, think about the benefits that it can have for your child as they transition into a new year at school.
- Time management skills and learning to prioritize commitments are great skills that can be learned at a very young age. Learning these skills will be helpful for the rest of their lives and help with managing daily stress. These are taught when children have opportunities, options, and commitments outside of school.
- Exploring new interests is important for children to find things they are passionate about. Whether learning an instrument, playing a sport, or starring in a play, accomplishments associated with hobbies can help build self-esteem and confidence!
- Being involved in an activity that has goals can help build your child’s self-esteem and overall confidence. Allowing your child to do so in a more relaxed setting can help with mastering new skills later in life.
- Studies have shown that children involved in extracurricular activities tend to have better academic performance than children who exclusively spend free time on electronics and avoid social situations.
- In the future, when college is on the horizon, students with more extracurricular activities and community involvement tend to fare better than those who were not involved. They also show more outward confidence in interviews for jobs and college and maturity amongst their peers.
- Having a place where they can feel comfortable being themselves without the pressure of academics will allow them the emotional and mental break needed to manage the stress of transition elsewhere in their lives.
- Introducing your child to people outside of their community provides support for who they are as individuals. They have more trusted adults they can turn to in times of need, further easing emotional pressures.
Getting your child involved in an extracurricular activity at a young age not only occupies some of their free time, helps them meet friends with similar interests, and burns off excess energy as a toddler, but it also teaches them valuable life skills! From time and stress management to teamwork and goal setting, activities can help many children in many ways!