5 Vital Points in Finding Extracurricular Activities For Your Child

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Extracurricular activities are activities that are outside of the required school day. They can be an important part of your child's daily life. Every child is unique, with their own interests and needs. The right extracurricular activity can help make sure that your child's specific needs are met. Making a close examination of how the new activity will influence your child's daily routine can help make sure you get the best benefit from these activities of choice.

1. Your Child's Interests  

Pick an activity that your child will be interested in. Extracurricular activities are not required, so your child's interest and enjoyment will be the motivator for the activity.  

Your child's interests are also a great place to start if you are searching out extracurricular activities. For example, if your child is fascinated by robots, you can ask your friends if they know of any Lego robotics clubs for children.

It may be tempting to use extracurricular activities to help boost an area that your child finds challenging. This can be touchy situation, as it is critical that your child enjoy this activity to excel. Martial arts can be very beneficial to a child who is not very physically coordinated, provided the instructor and class environment help the child to feel more confident in their abilities and have a good time during class. Otherwise, the classes can just compound the frustration.

Likewise, a student who is struggling in math at school would benefit from extra help or tutoring rather than being signed up for the school mathlete team.

2. Your Child's Needs  

Some children need a lot of physical activity, while some children need a great deal of quiet time where they can feel settled and calm.

A child needing more activity is a natural for most sports, while a quieter child may benefit from a craft or reading club. If there is anything that you feel your child doesn't get enough of during their school day, an after school or extracurricular activity may be the answer to round out their needs. If your child needs more social connections you have a wide choice including sports teams, service organizations and scouting clubs.

3. Your Family's Schedule  

Make sure that you will be able to get your child to and from the activity if transportation is not provided. You should also look to make sure that the new activity fits into the schedule well. Will your child still have enough free, unstructured time during their day?

Think about the rest of your family's schedule. Are there any conflicts with a siblings routine? How can you work around that?

Making sure your family has enough time isn't the only way to look at family scheduling for extracurricular activities. Consider if this could also be an opportunity for you to be more involved with your child's education. Can you help coach the sports team or help fundraise through a  booster club? You certainly don't have to volunteer in order for your child to benefit from being involved in an extracurricular activity, but it could be a good fit for you to increase your involvement.

4. Length of Commitment  

Some activities, like many seasonal sports, last for a only a few months. Other activities, like many scouting groups, have a full year calendar. Be sure that your child will be able to attend throughout the majority of the timeline. If you know ahead of time that when you will not be available, check to make sure that your child won't miss anything of critical importance.

5. The Overall Costs  

Many extracurricular activities have costs that may not be obvious during the sign up period. In addition to the costs of initial registration and uniforms, there may be ongoing costs to provide snacks or pay for special trips.

Often, groups with high fees will have  a waiver or scholarship program for low income families or families that are economically stressed. Be sure to ask during the sign up time what ongoing costs there are, so you can budget for these costs and be prepared for them. If you need help paying for fees, ask about scholarships or waivers.

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