6 Reasons Why Your Child Needs Extracurricular Activities

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 When the school day is over, extracurricular activities provide much-needed opportunities that can be carefully selected and matched to your child. Extracurriculars are choice activities beyond the regular school day. These choices can broaden your child's school experience by giving child's school experience by giving your child a chance to explore with greater depth a personal interest or develop other skills.

Children who are involved in extracurricular activities often have higher grades. The key in how after school activities like these boost success is in what extracurricular activities provide your child.

Added Motivation in Your Child's Day  

As parents, we already know that learning new material can be hard work. Think about how you feel when your employer rolls out a new computer program at your job, or there is a big change in your daily procedure.  Your children feel this throughout the school year as they learn new material. While teachers strive to motivate students to learn with the best teaching methods they have available, an activity that is meant to be fun can give your child something to look forward to, keeping your child in good spirits.  

If you have a child who is struggling with academics, an extracurricular activity could provide that opportunity to feel successful right now, while waiting for the benefits of extra help or tutoring to kick in.

Look for: Extracurriculars that focus on fun. What activities are fun will differ between each child, but generally include a more relaxed atmosphere and socialization. Almost any after school program or club will seem fun to certain children, it is just finding the right match.

Some extracurricular after school tutoring programs will include fun activities to help encourage children to participate.

These programs double down on boosting motivation for school by helping kids succeed by completing their school work while also fostering fun activities.

Provide What Your Child Is Missing Elsewhere

Every child is a unique person. Some kids will simply need or want to spend more time on certain types of activities than others. Extracurriculars can provide that extra outlet, tailoring your child's educational experience to their needs.

 Look For: A Program Centered Around A Missing Need. If your child needs a lot of physical activity, signing them up for sports will give them that extra time to burn off energy that may not be provided in their school day. If you have a child who needs a quieter activity time, a place to work on crafts or the school garden club may provide time to quietly work with their hands or connect with nature.

Provide Social Opportunity For Joint Interests  

In the same way many adults join clubs or teams in order to meet people with common interests, your child will benefit from meeting other children who share their same interests. While everyone enjoys being able to share a common interest with others, children who may struggle socially have much to gain from extracurricular activities.

This can be an effective part of improving school struggles for children and teens experiencing depression, anxiety, other conditions that affect socializing.

Look for: A Program that Includes Social Skills Sports teams teach kids how to work towards a common goal, and provide new opportunities to meet friends. Social and civic based also give children a chance to work within a group. Scouting organizations help children learn how to set realistic goals and meet them

Help them Learn Leadership Skills

Many extracurricular activities provide children the opportunity to step up and become leaders. As children grow older, many clubs and organizations pass more and more responsibility to the child.

Learning leadership skills fosters a growth mindset by teaching kids how to plan ahead and grow. Leadership also includes more advanced social skills on how to work with and inspire others. 

While involvement in almost any extracurricular will look good on a college application, activities that focus on leadership tend to look better to college admissions officials.

Look for: Programs That Progressively Move Kids To Leadership Sports teams often have manager or captain roles. Scouts go from following a strict curriculum in the early grades to doing a community service project of their own choice and design in the teen years. Children who are experienced in martial arts classes often show children who are newer to the sport how to perform various movements and activities. 4-H has an emphasis on research, public speaking and showmanship – all important leadership skills.

Help Your Child Learn About Themselves  

Extracurricular activities give your child a chance to really explore how much they like different activities.  It also gives them the chance to see how they work within groups or on teams. Working towards a goal can help your child explore why they feel a goal is worthwhile, and help them to understand what they believe is important.

Look for: A New and Different Activity Special interests clubs such as those focused on arts, crafts, and STEM can give your child a chance to try something new, and see what works and what doesn't for them. Writing clubs may help a child decide which styles of writing they enjoy while learning to express themselves. Robotics clubs can offer a child a chance to see whether they are more interested in design or coding, and how they feel about working in a competitive group. As long as your child wants to explore a given subject, they will have something to gain.

Looks Good On Applications  

Colleges, scholarships, and other competitive opportunities that are available for young people often looking for extracurricular activity in applicants. These organizations believe that someone who has been committed to an activity by choice will have developed additional skills that lead to success that cannot be taught in the classroom.

Look For: Showing Steady Commitment and Hard Work This can really come from almost any extracurricular. It depends more on how it connects to the application.

For example, a college applicant who attended a summer camp connected to the specific degree they would like to earn at a college will be able to show that their interest is long term, so they are likely to complete a program in that subject. 

Spending several seasons in a particular sport or long term commitment to scouting programs also shows dedication over time. 

 All of the above reasons listed come together to help develop someone who has more skills for success than someone who earned excellent grades but did not do extra activities. Colleges and employers have also noted that young people with extracurricular success do better and are more likely to perform well.   

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