Extracurricular Activities: When to Say When

When it comes to raising well-rounded children, extracurricular activities play a huge role in keeping your kids in line. According to one education consultant, participation in school activities, sports and community clubs and organizations during the middle school years has a positive effect on at-risk teens who might drop out in high school. In addition to fostering positive character traits in children, it also creates a school connection for kids.{relatedarticles}With this in mind, many parents push their children into football, cheerleading, chorus, dance, girl scouts, boy scouts and every other activity under the sun. The question is: How much is too much when it comes to activities? Could you be overbooking your child? The first rule of thumb is to consider whether or not your child enjoys the activity.
In other words, is it you or your child who really wants it? If the answer is the former and not the latter, you should probably pull the plug and find an activity that appeals to your son or daughter. Scholastic.com offers a grade-by-grade guide to ensure you aren't spreading your child - or yourself-too thin. Remember, a great deal of the burden to get your children to and from these activities falls on you.{relatedarticles}While a kindergartener might be ready for one or two after-school activities a week, a fifth grader might only need two free afternoons a week. Of course, it's integral that you make sure your children have enough time to do homework. If your son or daughter is struggling with schoolwork, then you might encourage your child to get involved with activities that facilitate learning such as the debate team, Spanish club or math competition. Should your child seem stressed, tired, irritable or distant, they may be feeling pressured by the hectic schedule. That's when it may be time to pull the plug on an activity.