Alongside the abundant health benefits of getting your children active – and providing them with lots of social stimulation – there is another important reason why parents should sign them up for extracurricular activities.
Being involved in school plays, and science, language and environmental clubs clearly brings academic advantages. As well as creating a sense of purpose for children. However, did you know that also applies to sports activities outside school hours?
The World Health Organisation has reported that: “Physical activity enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills.”
In other words, what happens on sports playing fields and in local parks and leisure centres has a direct link to how much learning your child does in the classroom!
However, that could lead to the dilemma of where to ‘draw the line’. Here are tips on balancing extracurricular activities with schoolwork.
Developing good habits and routines
One of the widely supported ways of offering a well-rounded week of learning, fun and sports for children, is all about having a consistent routine. Getting them into good learning habits means being crystal clear on the times that homework needs to be done, and not leaving spelling practices until they are in the car on the way to school.
Then, a weekly timetable of fun and fitness projects can be created around that.
This may sound regimented, but it helps your child switch between activities more readily. It also assists parents in planning their week and organising such things as sports kit requirements!
Also, giving children an early experience of ‘time management’ certainly does no harm. Such as completing homework between school and their evening clubs and classes, to make sure they don’t miss the start of their extracurricular fun.
Should extracurricular activities be a reward?
Some parents use fun activities outside of school as an incentive for their children to achieve their academic targets.
Goal setting for children is generally considered to be a good idea – it creates an important life skill in fact. However, it’s highly recommended that the goals are realistic and achievable., and that you don’t withdraw pleasurable pastimes like sports clubs as a punishment. That can actually demotivate and demoralise children in the classroom.
Just like the best extracurricular sports programmes from The Little Foxes Club, your aim should be to build your child’s self-esteem and show them exactly what they can accomplish if they complete school work to the best of their ability and do team activities.
Choose the best out of school activities
Getting the right balance between schoolwork and extracurricular fun can also be easier if you ‘cherry-pick’ what evening and Saturday activities your child does.
First and foremost, be honest about whether you have enrolled them in clubs and classes according to your aims and preferences or something they genuinely want to do. It is great to encourage them to try new sports for children, or sample brownie and cub scout packs for example. However, letting them decide which activity to stick to is important, not least as it develops their confidence in decision making.
Also, when searching for ‘children’s sports providers near me’, only opt for ones that are highly recommended by other parents, like The Little Foxes Club. Choosing just a few well-established and high-quality organisations for your child to engage with can be a great way to manage your budget for after-school activities too.
Being selective ensures you know your son or daughter will enjoy safe, inclusive pastimes that are authentically beneficial (and that hopefully wear them out).
One of the great things about enrolling your child in organised sports and other activities outside school hours is that it gives them more opportunities to learn social skills and make friends. It also keeps them out of their bedroom and away from electronic gadgets!
However, if you fill their week with too many activities they can start to flag and be tired at school.
As part of the balance, it’s a good idea to assign some time for doing ‘nothing’. Though you could also steer them towards relaxing family board games, arts and crafts or baking, to limit their screen time.
Keep things simple
There is nothing more exhausting than herding kids to evening classes and clubs in a panic or worrying about whether they are safe and enjoying themselves! A stressed parent equals a stressed child, who can get distracted or tired when it comes to schoolwork.
This is another good reason to be ‘picky’ about which local activity providers you use. You must find 100% reliable ones that you can trust as a parent, with proven organisational methods. Like The Little Foxes Club.
You can browse our list of local sports activity programmes relaxed in the knowledge that you will be able to drop your child off and collect them with confidence. Then, they will have an enriching experience that sets them up for improved learning in the classroom.