How to Balance School + ExtracurricularsJanuary 15, 2015
My mother always tells me that life seems faster nowadays and that we are all too busy. I want my children to be busy enough to be involved in our community, learn, be fit, and stay out of trouble. However, I do not want them to be so busy that they lack time in their day to study, be creative, relax, and be kids. My daughter is 12 years old and my son is 14 years old. You can imagine how many school activities we have in one month, but then add to that soccer practice and games, Bible youth group, and church volunteering. We have at least six extracurricular activities after school in one week. It’s important to know when to decrease or increase the amount of activities your child is involved in. The key is keeping a healthy balance. Here are some simple ways to keep that balance.
Keep a visual calendar of all activities to avoid scheduling too many in one day and to allow your child time to study or prepare for another event. Mark the calendar with important dates like special events, test days, and presentations.
Make a contract with your child before he or she joins an extracurricular activity. Set realistic expectations, talk about the rules of the activity, and discuss consequences if the activity affects your child’s academic progress.
A big trigger to look for when you are worried that your child is doing too much is a decline in his or her grades. Check your child’s grades at least twice a week. If your see a drop in the grades, talk to your child about how to best help him or her. Remember to value school and make academics a priority over activities. Many schools have the “no pass, no play” rule, which does not allow a student athlete to play a sport unless he or she is passing all classes.
Power of Choice
Allow your child to choose the extracurricular activities and sports that he or she wants to be involved in. This choice will increase the motivation and effort your child devotes to that activity.
Extracurricular activities are great. Enjoy them with your child. They will help him or her learn valuable life lessons like team work and will help build a well-rounded child. For more information on extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities, contact your school district and your city’s park and recreation department.