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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Quincey, Washington
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    Out Of School Activities, Advice Needed!

    Parents, I need your advice!
    How many out of school activities is to much?
    What ones are best for developing skills & for what ages?

    Of course every child is different and has different interests but what would you recommend?

    Also if you’d like to share what yours kids do and their ages please do!

    TIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Greece
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    Not a parent, but I helped raise my little brother. He's twelve now.
    At the moment he does tennis, a foreign language and guitar. Before tennis he tried out different sports, I think some physical activity is necessary for children but you should let them experiment till they find something they really love!
    Other than physical activities, I'd suggest having just one more activity when they're young (till they're nine years old maybe). A foreign language or a musical instrument are the ones that they'd appreciate knowing the most in the future. For more "relaxed" activities, maybe a girl/boy/whatever scouts group, a drama club, a choir?
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Cyprus
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    I actually did many more activities when I was younger than I did as I got older, just at less serious levels. From kindergarten until 5th grade (ages 5-10), I took dance (competitively starting at age 8), swim lessons, Girl Scouts, and soccer. I dropped swim lessons (because I had the skill at that point) and soccer (because I didn’t have time) at age 10 and I dropped Girl Scouts at age 11. I danced anywhere between 14 and 20 hours per week from age 11 through 18.

    I never had an issue with the amount of time I spent in after school activities but I also didn’t have any problems with school. I always did well and got good grades so time was never a concern. My sister did have trouble balancing school and extracurriculars though and had to take fewer hours of things than I did. That all depends on the kid because school should always come first.

    For my own kids, I want them to be involved in something outside of school but what it is will be up to them (although I’ll unapologetically put them in my favorite sports first) and how serious the commitment is will depend on how they do in school. Personally, I recommend dance or gymnastics at a young age for both boys and girls. It establishes early skills in both athleticism and musicality which helps if they go on to activities involving those things at a later time.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    New Jersey
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    I don’t have kids, but I sort of have a plan. I’m a swim instructor, so they will definitely be learning to swim very early. If I wasn’t teaching them myself, they would start swim lessons at age 3. I think it’s such an important skill. I also would have them learn piano starting at around age 6. When they are old enough (12 or so) they can decide if they want to continue or not, but during elementary school it would be mandatory. My parents did that for me and I’m very glad they did. It’s a great skill to have. Otherwise, just whatever activities they are interested in, although I am biased towards soccer and I wouldn’t let them play football.

    In elementary school I did piano lessons, played the oboe in school band, did school choir, did swim team year round, played soccer in spring/fall, basketball in winter, and did Girl Scouts. I also did gymnastics at one point. It was a lot but I loved being busy, and none of them were high commitment. I think from my experience kids enjoy it most when they do a bunch of things when they are little, as opposed to focusing on just one sport or activity. My friends who were serious about gymnastics or baseball or whatever early on got bored of it by high school and quit.
    Last edited by kipperbo1; November 27th, 2019 at 04:23 PM.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    USA
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    I wish parents would let their children pursue their own interests and stop trying to plan every detail of their lives. Why do children need extracurricular activities? Let them go outside and play and be kids.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Quincey, Washington
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    Because it helps with developing new skills, teaching them to be hard working and responsible, make new friends out of school and will help them with their careers in the future. Plus it’s fun! No one has said they need to but many choose to. I wish others wouldn’t be so rude.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Canada
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    The commenter wasn’t intending to be rude. I study child development and it is actually a huge debate as to whether or not extracurricular activities do have more benefits than negatives.

    In some children, the stress of not going home in between, rushing from place to place and not having free play between school, activity and bed can be very hard on them and not enjoyable.

    It’s very much dependent on the individual child whether or not it’s enjoyable. Just putting that out there.

    It is incredibly important though that once the child is old enough to voice a distaste or interest in an extracurricular, that they aren’t ignored, as forcing them into a sport they dislike, or not letting them participate in an activity they do like can cause further problems down the line.

    Honestly for young children I would start in just a Before/After School program. These are often held at the school for children in kindergarten and up, and offer tons of different activities, sports, crafts, and are good if your child doesn’t yet know what they’d like to do.

    How many is too many is very much dependent on the child’s age. For a young child (4-6), one is plenty. From 7+, if they show interest in one or more then I’d consider two. By 13 I may consider 3, but ONLY if interest is there.

    Three is MORE than enough for anyone, personally.

    A HUGE thing to consider to is the cost. Some activities are costly, which can also impact how many can be participated in. I don’t recommend to enroll them in too many activities, as that can cause huge issues elsewhere.

    Just my two cents, but all things to consider.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    London, England
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    I don't think @southern.maple intended to be rude - they were simply voicing their opinion and weren't insulting parents of children who do participate in after school activities. I can understand where they were coming from. It's not healthy to inflict a bunch of activities on a young child - or any child - who doesn't have any interest to participate in them or if it's for the parent's gain IMO. Particularly as they grow older, the increasing amount of schoolwork can be hard to juggle with extra curricular activities (I wasn't forced to take any activities but had to stop the after school clubs and weekend clubs I did join in with because of the workload once I hit exam period). Of course, if the child wants to participate in out of school activities, then sure, let them, but don't force them to do any if they don't want to. I think that's what @southern.maple was getting at.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    UK
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    My experience growing up was that my parents let me join any clubs I wanted and let me quit whenever too. They were a bit reluctant to let piano go, probably as I'd been working on it for longer than anything else, and probably also because my mum's younger sister did piano and was the favoured sister who got attention for it, so my mum probably psychologically desired to replicate that with me.

    Anyway, I was allowed to quit and i'm glad about it because I had a hard time believing in my own voice back then and failed to realise that I wasn't really enjoying my lessons or the instrument. I think what my parents did wrong was not care about extra curricular activities that I was engaged with. They were never really interested which made me feel pretty neglected.

    When I was 16 I joined my local ice rink and skated till I moved away for uni. It was the only activity I ever engaged with and the only activity I wanted to continue. Still, I was a little unpleasantly surprised by competitiveness of the young girls and the very cocky behaviours that they displayed. There were 6 year olds who could be rude to me at times! I was 10 years older! That's why even though I adored the sport, I was grateful that I was never a part of that world as a child. Also I felt really bad for some of the kids when the coaches would be demanding and unsympathtic. I really don't think this was healthy for the children at all. I would like to express this experience here as a kind of warning because I think this happens in a lot of sports.
    Last edited by ferix08; December 2nd, 2019 at 06:10 AM.

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