1. Extracurricular activities make children better people. After school sports or clubs teach kids how to manage their time. They’ll have to make choices on which tasks need to get done and in what order. Balancing school work, practice and in some cases a part-time job will teach kids how to prioritize things. Learning a new skill and excelling at it builds self esteem. Even when things don’t go well, lessons can be learned on how to deal with losing and staying humble. Kids learn teamwork too. That’s a lesson that will carry over into adulthood.
2. Being a part of something other than the usual school schedule allows a child to make a contribution. He or she is learning to give of themselves. They’re sharing their time, talents and skills with others and making a positive impact in the process.
3. As students reach high school, those extracurricular events look good on college applications. While getting good grades is vital to getting into college, many institutions of higher learning also want to see what your student does outside the classroom. It doesn’t even have to be a school sanctioned activity. Scouting programs, church groups and community activities look good on college applications and help establish the above-mentioned skills.
4. Goal-setting is often achieved by participating in after-school activities. Whether it’s wanting to improve in a sporting event, excel in an academic club or become president of the class; setting short and long term goals and working to achieve them are valuable all through life.
5. The term “dumb jock” is merely an outdated stereotype. Many studies have linked improved grades, behavior and work habits to extracurricular activities. This too can lead to college scholarships and other opportunities down the road.
If your situation prevents your child from being involved, work on solutions to change that. Work with other parents on getting kids to and from events. Talk with administrators and coaches about funding options if money is the problem. The overall well-being of your child will improve the earlier he or she gets started in the process.