Give ‘Em a Break: Overdoing the Extracurricular Activities?

March 25, 2015  |  

Dance, sports, theatre. There’s no doubt that participating in extracurricular activities is beneficial for your child. They can help boost their self-esteem, teach important lessons about teamwork, and provide them with scholarship opportunities. But how much is too much? How do you know when you’ve gone too far, making their extracurriculars more of an extra burden on your child and you? Here are five questions to ask yourself before filling out that next registration form.

Is it interfering with school? Yes, extracurricular activities are great, but school should always come first. Homework in the car, late at night, or not at all; falling grades…. Balancing their education and other activities requires a good blend of self-discipline and commitment. If your child isn’t able to juggle everything, it’s time to pull back on some of their activities until they’re able to better manage their time.

Is it straining my pockets? From registration fees to equipment, the cost of extracurricular activities can add up– fast! And there may come a time when you find that those things are straining you financially. Cutting back on spending to make it possible for your son or daughter to participate is fine, but if you’re making several sacrifices, you may want to start being more selective about what activities your child can and can’t do.

Is my child having fun? Sometimes there is crying in baseball…and pouting and whining and tantrums, too. With too much emphasis being put on their extracurricular activities, what may have started out as a genuine interest could end up being something that’s no longer enjoyable for them. So as a parent, you need to decide: Should I let my child throw in the towel? Can they do it immediately, or will I have them follow through with their commitment until the season is over?

How much of our time is it taking? There’s nothing like having the whole family cheering on the sidelines together and going out for a celebratory (or consolation) ice cream after a game. One of the best aspects of an extracurricular activity is being able to use it as family bonding time. But if your family vacations have been replaced by travel tournaments, spilling the tea means gossiping about playing time and nepotism, and the only dinner out you do as a family is a team banquet, it’s time to re-prioritize so your life doesn’t revolve around your child’s hobbies.

Are they still able to just be kids? If your son or daughter never seems to have time to play with their friends, is always missing things like birthday parties and other social events, perhaps they’ve got a little too much on their plate. When their activities conflict with other things that they’d like to do, ask yourself which one your child would want to do the most and weigh the importance. They may not be able to miss a recital or big game, but is it possible for them to miss a practice? Remember, they’ll always have time to participate in extracurricular activities, whether they do it now or if they wait until their high school years. But there’s only so much time that they have to just be kids.

 

Hey mamas! How much is too much for your family? How many hours are you devoting to your kids’ extracurricular activities each week? Do you feel like it’s worth the time?

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