Extra Curriculars: Choosing the right one for your child
Are you on the fence about putting your child into an extra curricular? Whether it be soccer, baseball, karate, dance, the list is endless.
First let me tell you that I have three kids and two of which, are in an extra curricular. My youngest is 3 and 1/2 and we will be putting him in t-ball this spring. I have always said that I want my kids to try anything they want to try and I will put them in any sport they may want to dabble in, for them to get the experience and if they don’t like it, I won’t have them do it another season. I will make sure they finish out the season, because I’m not raising quitters, LOL, but if they don’t want to continue after the season is over, then they can try something else until they find what they like!
There are a few things that come to mind when thinking about how to choose the right extra curricular for your child. The first one is…
Can you afford it?
This is a huge question. A lot of times you can find discount coupons for baseball, soccer, football teams etc through Groupon. As well as checking out your local city activity center. Also, a lot of places will offer FREE classes for your kid to try out! However, I will not start my kids in something that I won’t be able to continue to do for them. Find out the cost before you even think about taking your kids to their first class, practice etc. That is what we did with our oldest son when he started karate. He got 5 free classes! He absolutely fell in love with it! It is an amazing thing when you see your child fall in love with something that they can do that is out of the norm. Something that is out of their every day behavior. Or something that they don’t see a lot of people doing. How upsetting for you and your little one if you can’t continue to let them keep going after they fell in love?! I also think about this next thing before I start them in an extra curricular…
Will it fit in your schedule?
Before you put your child into an extra curricular, make sure you can get them to all their practices, their games, their performances etc. There is nothing worse than your child missing practices or games and being left behind. Make no mistake, your child’s team will not wait for your child to start their practice or game, and they will most likely be held accountable for YOUR actions. My oldest is in karate and if he is late, at no fault of his own, he has to do extra push ups, jumping jacks etc. For your child’s benefit, find out what days and times the practices would be, and also make sure you can go to the games, and performances. You don’t want to see the look on your child’s face if you can’t make it to one of their games! Now, after your child has tried out a few classes and it fits your schedule, think about this…
Does your child fit in with the other children?
Your child is going to be hanging out with these children for months and in some cases even years! Your children will form lasting bonds with the other children in their classes and practices. For your children’s benefit, make sure that they fit in with the other children and that they get along with the kids in their classes and practices. No one wants their child to go to something that is supposed to be fun and have them be bullied. Bullying is a huge problem in this day and age if we can help our children out, I say do it. If your child is being bullied, be sure to report this to the organization that is running the extra curricular, if they aren’t already taking care of it. My son was being bullied during a karate class, and I witnessed this. I waited to watch how my son would handle the situation, he tried to ignore the bully as best as he could, and also continuously told the bully to leave him alone. My son’s karate instructor noticed the bullying and took the bully’s karate belt away and made him earn it back over weeks of showing more maturity, and also talked with both my son and the bully together. This was amazing and so worth the time and $money that we put into karate.
Is your child having fun?
This is the last but most important thing to look for when having your child join an extra curricular. If your child is not enjoying themselves, why would you make them do something they don’t enjoy?! How do you feel when you are forced to do something you don’t want to do? That is no fun and going back to the last point, your child will be hanging out with these people and doing this activity for months, up to years. Talk to your child after every practice or class and see how they feel. Attend as many as you can so you can see how they are interacting with the coaches and the children in the classes. Try and stay back, which is hard. Let your child have this experience, and let them learn from their instructors and classmates. They are there to learn important life lessons. Things like team work, independence, pride, inclusion, and responsibility.
Let your children have this experience for themselves. Try not to hijack this from them. Let their extra curricular be their choice and their experience. This will make this activity that much more special for them and for you!
Is your child or children enrolled in any extra curriculars currently? I would love to hear what your children are into! My oldest is in karate right now, my daughter is in dance and my youngest will start t-ball in the fall!