How to choose the most appropriate extracurricular activity based on the tastes and character of the child, without losing sight of the benefits in his development. Here are the advice of the specialist!
Football or dance? Piano or swim? Circus or English? With all the different options that exist, choosing an extracurricular activity for our children can be a difficult decision. But what should we parents consider when choosing? How much time to devote to it? These and other questions are answered by the psychologist and psychotherapist Tatiana Fabrianesi .
- Choose the extracurricular activity together with our children
- Personality and attitude of children
- Listen to family needs
- Extracurricular activities, how much time to devote to them
- The benefits of extracurricular activities
- The role of parents
Choose the extracurricular activity together with our children
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First of all, choosing the extracurricular activity is a team decision, we must never impose ourselves, but feel our children and take into account their tastes and preferences. If they participate in the choice with desire and enthusiasm, the benefits will increase even more.
The child must participate in the choice, not obliged to do an activity that he does not share or, worse still, that he does not like. It would make him frustrated or anxious just because we like it or because we think it’s more suitable for him. It is essential that the choice is shared ”, explains Dr. Fabrianesi.
Personality and attitude of children
The tastes of your children are not the only thing to keep in mind, we must also consider choosing an extracurricular activity that favors their development and training. To do this we must evaluate the options based on the personality and attitudes of our children, in order to select those that will help them most to acquire new skills or master those they already possess.
To be taken into consideration as the basis for doing an extracurricular activity are the character, the personality of the child and the inclination. Furthermore, the activity must be suitable for children otherwise it becomes frustrating and counterproductive ”, explains the specialist, adding that“ all activities contribute to the development of children, however it is important to choose taking into account their aptitudes ”.
In this regard, for example, he recommends:
- For the timid or insecure :their concern or fear is confrontation with each other, so it would be better to start with an activity in small groups or – according to the degree of insecurity – individually, in order to help them cultivate self-esteem, then place it in a larger group. The team sports and group activities – such as dance , theater , football or basketball – encourage teamwork, respect and tolerance, they can help them make new friends and overcome fears and tensions download.
- For the hyperactive:To exercise self-control, self-confidence and motor development, martial arts, swimming , tennis or horse riding are the most appropriate sports because they represent an excellent treatment against hyperactivity and aggression by helping to discharge energy and master impulses. Furthermore, they are “almost individual” activities with which we help children to maintain concentration, but within the context of a group, thus also favoring socialization and respect for the rules.
Listen to family needs
Equally fundamental, often underestimated, is the organization and family availability in everyday life. Surely this is a factor that concerns a lot of practicality, but the needs of family members who are faced with the activity must be evaluated to avoid overloading with commitments that we are not able to complete and that risk becoming tiring. and frustrating for both parent and child.
For example: we absolutely want our son to do horse riding, but they don’t do horse riding close to home so it takes us an hour to get there, so we realize that it becomes really impossible, unnerving and tiring all the time. Why overload yourself with all this if it is difficult to carry out this commitment? This will then be to the detriment of the child ”.
Extracurricular activities, how much time to devote to them
While they have many benefits, keeping a child engaged in a lot of extracurricular activities, Monday through Saturday, is a mistake. Let us remember that he will also have to study for exams, do his homework, rest and play with the other children. If we fill all his time, his performance will be worse, causing him stress, fatigue and anxiety.
Overloading it five or more times a week is counterproductive, not good, because the child gets so tired and then can’t make it from other points of view. Now there is a very strong overload in children, probably fueled by the expectations of the parents ”, specifies the specialist, indicating that the commitments should be a maximum of 3 – 4 hours a week , always leaving room for the children to play freely.
The benefits of extracurricular activities
According to research published on the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC), extracurricular activities bring several benefits to children, which can be grouped into three main categories:
- Academic performance :These activities lead to more positive attitudes towards school and greater academic motivation, as well as reducing school absenteeism.
- Social and emotional skills: Theyimprove self-perception, reduce negative behaviors, increase self-esteem and decrease the use of drugs or other risky behaviors. They also have a positive impact on communication skills.
- Behavioral Outcomes:Helps develop better peer relationships, combat anxiety, foster self-management and improve social skills.
Furthermore, participating in extracurricular activities stimulates social inclusion , in fact it decreases the feeling of loneliness, increases self-esteem and improves physical and mental health in a context of belonging to a group and a community.
The role of parents
The role of the parent does not end with the selection, on the contrary. In addition to helping them and directing them towards the activity chosen together with them, we must support them along the way, always respecting their spaces.
Parents play an important role because they must maintain a positive attitude towards the child by helping him to promote confidence in his abilities and potential, but at the same time he must recognize when there are failures. These should not be denied, listening to the emotions he is experiencing at that moment allows us to also work on frustration, which must never be diminished. Talking about it creates awareness ”, Fabrianesi explains.
Good! We now know what to consider before choosing our children’s extracurricular activity. Enjoy these moments, observing how they grow, develop and acquire new skills, doing something that gives them peace of mind and really amuses them!